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Full text of "The "elixir of life." Dr. Brown-Séguard's own account of his famous alleged remedy for debility and old age, Dr. Variot's experiments ... To which is prefixed a sketch of Dr. Brown-Séguard's life, with portrait"

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Dr. Brown-Seqiiard's own account of his 
Famous Alleged Remedy for Debility and Old Age, 
Dr. yariot's Experiments, and Contemporaneous 
Comments of the Profession and the Press, 


WITH Portrait. 

Edited by 



94 BoYLSTON Street. 

Copyright, 1889, 

All rights reserved. 



Biography i 


Comment 57 


Sketch of Dr. Brown-Sequard's Life.^ 

" He led me on to mightiest deeds 

Above the tierve of mortal arm." — Milton. 

Dr. Brown-Sequard's father, Captain Edward 
Brown, was born in Philadelphia, Penn., and 
married Mile. C. P. Sequard, a native of the 
island of Mauritius, of French extraction. He 
lost his life while endeavoring to carry provis- 
ions to that place, during a severe famine. 
The vessel proved unseavvorthy, and though a 
sailor of much experience, he was lost. 

Charles Edouard Brown-Sequard, M.D.,F.R.S., 

^See Biographical Sketches of Distinguished Living New York Physi. 
cians. By Samuel Ward Francis, A.M., M.D. New York, 1867. 228 pp 

Men of The Time. Cassell's Celebrities of the Century. Appleton's 
Cyc. of Am. Biography. 

Dictionnaire Universel des Contemporains. Par G. Vapereau. Paris, 

Dictionnaire Universel Ulustre Biographique et Bibliographique de la 
France Contemporaine. J. Lermina. Paris. 

2 Biography. 

etc., physician and physiologist, was born April 
8th, 1817, at Port Louis, Mauritius. The founda- 
tion of his extensive education, he received 
there at a private school. When quite young, 
he took charge of two circulating libraries and 
reading rooms for about two years. 

In 1838, he went to Paris to pursue his medi- 
cal studies, under such men as Martin Magron, 
P. Berard, Cruveilhier, Trousseau, Orfila, and 
others, all men of wide experience, much 
thought, and the representatives of an import- 
ant medical epoch. In November, 1838, he 
received the diploma of ''Bachelor of Letters," 
and that of " Bachelor of Sciences," the follow- 
ing year, from the Faculty of Letters of Paris, 
and the Faculty of Sciences of Paris, respec- 
tively, both of them forming a part of the Uni- 
versity of France. In 1839, he taught natural 
history, chemistry, and natural philosophy. In 
1845, he began to lecture on physiology. In 
natural history, chemistry, natural philosophy, 
and physiology, he has kept up the deepest in- 
terest ever since. That which has from the 

Biography. 3 

first rendered his didactic philosophy peculiarly- 
interesting, has been the number of practical 
experiments elucidating the topic in hand. At 
the start, his vivisections were conclusive as to 

On the 3rd of January, 1846, he received his 
degree of Doctor of Medicine from the Faculty 
of Medicine of Paris, which is a part of the 
University of France. His Inaugural Disser- 
tation was a printed thesis on the " Vital Pro- 
perties and Functions of the Spinal Cord," 4to., 
pp. 26. One cannot read this production without 
being charmed by the fascinating treatment 
so peculiarly his own. 

Since graduating, he has devoted his time 
mainly to extended experimental investigations 
on important physiological topics ; among which 
may be enumerated, the conditions and furnc- 
tions of the different constituents of the blood, 
animal heat, the spinal column and its diseases, 
the muscular system, the sympathetic nerv^es 
and ganglions, the effect of the removal of the 
supra-renal capsules, etc. Not a few of his 

4 Biography. 

valuable discoveries have been made while he 
has been resident in France. The peculiar 
facilities which that country offers men of 
science seem to have been in hi-s case both at- 
tractive and prolific. 

Dr. Brown-Sequard has visited England and 
the United States many times, delivering in 
both countries short courses of lectures, and in- 
structing private classes of physicians in his 
discoveries. He has practised medicine suc- 
cessfully in the principal centres of medical 
science of the world, in each place leaving 
traces of his original mind and wise sugges- 
tions. He has carried out his professional career 
in Paris, for many years, at various intervals, from 
1847 to 1850, also in 1855, from 1857 to 1859, 
in 1865, from 1869 to 1873, and since 1878. 
In 1854, he resided at Port Louis, Mauritius, 
and not only practised, but acquired much that 
sowed the seed of future theories. In London, 
England, he attended the sick, and particularly 
prescribed for those nervously affected, from 
March, i860, to September, 1863, and at Cam- 

Biography. 5 

bridge and Boston, Mass., 1864, lectured and 
treated those who appUed for his services. In 
1864, he was appointed Professor of the Physiol- 
ogy and Pathology of the Nervous System at 
Harvard Univ^ersity, where he remained four 
years. In 1869, ^"^^ returned to France, and was 
made professor of Experimental and Compar- 
ative Pathology in the Ecole de Medicine ; he 
held the chair till 1871. In 1858, he established 
in Paris \h^ Journal de la Physiologie de V Homme 
ef des Animanx, which, he conducted till 1863. 
After his return in 1869, he founded another 
journal called Archives de la Physiologie Normale 
et Pathologiqnc. In 1873, he again came to 
the United States, practising in New York 
City, and beginning with Dr. Seguin the publi- 
cation of the ArcJiives of Scientific and Practical 
Medicine. August 3, 1878, he succeeded Claude 
Bernard in the chair of Experimental Medicine 
in the College of France. 

In March, 1853, at Boston, Mass., Dr. Brovvn- 
Sequard married Miss Ellen Fletcher, a niece of 
Daniel Webster's first wife. 

He is opposed to the use of tobacco. In his 

6 Biography. 

own words : " I never smoke, and have seen the 
most evident proofs of the injurious effects of 
tobacco on the nervous system." 

Dr. Brown-Sequard's general health has been 
very good, being exempt from many of the af- 
fections that flesh is heir to. But a desire to 
investigate the contents of his own stomach, 
under different circumstances, by means of 
which he could examine the gastric juice, or 
partially digested food, has brought on a rare 
affection, which is sometimes seen in man, 
namely, a persistent merycism, or rumination, 
when one is forced to chew a second time what 
has been swallowed. This has existed since 
1844, in consequence of his having often per- 
formed on himself experiments, consisting in 
swallowing sponges, to which were attached 
threads ; by drawing upon which, the sponges 
were withdrawn from the stomach, containing 
gastric juice and liquid or liquified food, which 
he wished to study. 

This sacrifice on the altar of science should 
be honorably recorded, as a disinterested effort 

Biography. 7 

by a truly philosophical man. The pains, also, 
to which Dr. Brown-Sequard has voluntarily 
subjected himself in pursuing the experiments 
which form the subject of this pamphlet, should 
not be forgotten in this connection. "Truth 
at any cost, even my own," has always been the 
uncompromising motto of the true philosopher. 

On five occasions, has Dr. Brown-S^quard 
received prizes from that august body, the 
French Academy of Sciences ; the last being 
the Institute's biennial prize of 20,000 francs. 
In 1878, he was elected to the chair of medicine 
in the Academy. In 1868, he was elected mem- 
ber of the National Academy of Sciences. In 
i860, he became a member of the Royal College 
of Physicians of London. The Royal Society 
of London, under the auspices of the Queen, has 
twice bestowed on him a portion of the grant? 
set aside for the promotion of science. Many 
other foreign institutes have bestowed their 
honors upon him. 

Among the many interesting theories and 
scientific points propounded by Dr. Brown- 

8 Biograi^hy. 

Sequard, and which may truly be said to liave 
gained stronger and stronger hold, may be men- 
tioned the theory that *'the fibrine of the blood 
is an excrementitious product, and not subser- 
vient to nutrition." 

By a series of careful experiments, he suc- 
ceeded in restoring the irritability of the mus- 
cles, soon after oxygenated and defibrinated 
blood had been injected, when a dead body had 
been long rigid. By repeating this with the 
same blood, it being oxygenated and defibrin- 
ated again, the irritability of the muscles was 
maintained for hours. Another statement of 
his is likewise worthy of mention. It is to the 
effect that arterial blood *'is subservient to 
nutrition, while venous blood is required for 
muscular contraction." He also states that the 
animal heat of man is 103° F. — several degrees 
higher than previous investigators 'have put it. 
Moreover, as it has generally been accepted as a 
fact that poison tends to lower the temperature 
of the body, he suggests with much reason, that 
if an artificial heat be kept up the toxaemic in- 

Biography. 9 

fluence will be lessened, and the chances of re- 
covery increased inversely, etc. This theory — 
if carried out in clinical practice — would tend 
greatly to assist in the administration of reme- 
dial agents. 

But that which has peculiarly attracted his 
attention and given rise to profound discussion, 
has special reference to the spinal cord ; it may 
truly be considered as the greatest discovery of 
that region since the period when Sir Charles 
Bell unfolded to view the sensitive properties 
and "■ motor functions of the anterior and pos- 
terior roots of the spinal cord." To use the 
words of another :^ "As the result of numer- 
ous ingenious experiments, Brown-S^quard con- 
cludes that the sensitive fibres do not commu- 
nicate directly with the brain, but convey 
impressions to the gray matter of the cord, by 
which they are transmitted onward to the brain, 
and that their decussation or crossing takes 
place in the cord itself, at or below the point at 
which they enter, not in the cerebrum or me- 

' See Appleton's Cyclopaedia. 

10 Biography. 

dulla oblongata. On the other hand, the an- 
terior or motor fibres pass on directly to the 
brain, effecting their decussation in the medulla 
oblongata ; the gray matter receives the impres- 
sions, conducts them to the brain, or reflects 
them upon the motor nerves, but is itself insen- 
sible to ordinary stimuli." 

In the modern views of nervous disorders the 
opinions of Prof. Brown Sequard are looked 
upon with respect, and followed with implicit 
faith, so earnest have been his endeavors, and 
so conscientious his experiments as regards the 
treatment of functional and organic affections 
of the nervous system. We find that he main- 
tains that morbid manifestations may be due to 
a reflex influence ; that pressure on the carotid 
for congestion of the brain does not diminish 
the supply of blood to the brain, but the benefit 
derived from it is due chiefly to the pressure on 
the cervical sympathetic nerve, which causes a 
contraction of the blood-vessels of the brain. 

He is entirely opposed to extirpation of the 
testicle as a cure for epilepsy, deeming it not 

Biography. ' 11 

only irrational, but barbarous ; recommends ap- 
plying a white-hot iron to the head of patients 
when in the ''coma of apoplexy, cerebritis, 
uraemia, or epilepsy " ; and also as the most ef- 
fectual cure for neuralgia, and when the patient 
is suffering from rheumatic pains. Charles 
Sumner's heroic treatment will be recalled in 
this connection. On the same principle, he 
strongly advocates ice along the spine. But 
that which seems especially to have met his 
high approval is the subcutaneous injection of 
morphia, quinia, etc. He advocates gallic acid 
in five-grain doses, six times a day, when the 
nervous derangements are due to congestion of 
the ovaries or kidneys, and does not particularly 
admire nitrate of silver for the treatment of 
locomotor ataxy, as it is often found to do. more 
in the way of discoloring the skin than reliev- 
ing the difficulty. For palsy he praises the 
chloride of barium, in from one-half grain to 
one grain doses three times a day, It has also 
been found very serviceable in tetanus. He 
regrets that errhines are not oftener employed. 

12 " Biography. 

On being once asked if he did not have some 
special or favorite branch of practice, Dr. 
Brown-S^quard replied : " I am chiefly con- 
sulted for nervous affections, both functional 
and organic, but I am not a specialist ; and 
have studied, and continue to study, every 
branch of medicine." When one sees the vast 
strides made each year in physiology, thera- 
peutics, chemistry, and microscopic anatomy, 
the labor involved in carefully keeping up with 
the times will be appreciated. 

To enumerate the works and articles written 
by Dr. Brown-Sequard would be a difficult task, 
for they are in many languages, printed in dif- 
ferent countries, and may be found in maga- 
zines, medical journals, physical periodicals, 
cyclopaedias, and bound up with the lectures 
of other interesting savans. The medical and 
philosophical literatures of this generation are 
greatly indebted to him for his widely diffused 
knowledge, and the many surprising facts made 
plain to the sense. A uniform set of his elabo- 
rate productions would find a ready sale, and be 

Biography, 13 

secured by every public library in the civilized 

To give some idea, howevever, of the diver- 
sity of the subjects treated, the titles of a few 
may be quoted. Most of them are written in 
French : 

I. Rech. et Exper. sur la Physiol, de la Moelle 
Epin. 1846. 

7. Sur I'Etat de I'lrritab. dans les Muscles 
Paral. 1847. 

13. Hibernation des Tenrecs. 1849. 

14. Rech. sur la Rigidite Cadav. et la Putrefac- 
tion. 1849. 

17. L' Action de Teter Independante du Cer- 
veau. 1849. 

19. Explication d'un Phenomene de Visibilite. 

26. Rech. sur la Mode d* Action de la Strych- 
nine. 1849. 

34. Sur la Mort par la Foudre et 1' Electro- 
Magnet. 1849. 

64. Apparition de la Rigidite Cadav. avant la 
Cessation des Battem du Coeur. 185 1. 

14 Biograiyhy. 

80. Sur rirritab. des Muscles. Paralyses. 185 1. 
84. Preuve de la Contractilite du Tissu Cellu- 

laire. 1852. 
^d>. Sur le Nutrition des Muscles pendant leur 

Contraction. 1852. 
100. Sur un Fait Nouveau relatif a la Physiol. 

de la Moelle Epin. 1852. 
107. Guerison de I'Epilepsie par la Section d'un 

Nerf. 1853. 
113. Sur la Cause des Mouvements du Coeur. 


136. De rinfluence de I'Asphyxie sur la Chaleur 
Animale. 1856. 

144. Nouv. Rech. sur les Capsules Surrenales. 

155. Course of Lectures on the Physiology and 
Pathology of the Central Nervous System, 
delivered at the Royal College of Sur- 
geons of England, 1858. 276 pages, 3 
plates. Philadelphia, i860. 

158. Lectures on the Diagnosis and Treatment 
of the Principal F'orms of Paralysis of the 
Lower Extremities. 118 pages. Phila- 
delphia. 1 86 1. 

Biography. 15 

162. Lois des Phenom. Dynam. de rEconomie 

178. Sur quelques Caracteres non encore Sig- 

nales des Mouvem. Refl* Normeaux. 1858. 
186. Rech. sur rirritab. Musculaire. 1859. 
192. Remarq. sur des Cas d'Ephidrose Paroti- 

dienne. 1859. 
195. Sur un Cas de Greffe Osseuse. i860. 
199. Note sur les Mouv. Rotatoires. i860. 
203. Remarq. sur la Physiol, du Cervelet a 

propos d'un M^moire de R. Wagner. 186 1. 
205. Remarq. sur I'Action du Nerf- Vague sur le 

Coeur. 1862. 
207. Remarq. sur la Physiol, du Cervelet et du 

Nerf Anditif. 1862. 
209. Rech. sur la Transmiss. des Impress, de 

Tact, de Chatouillement, de Douleur, de 

Temperat., et de Contraction (Sens Mus- 

cul.) dans la Moelle Epin. 1863. 
" Lectu'res on Nervous Affections" appeared 
in 1873. 



The justly eminent Dr. Brown-Sequard has 
recently been experimenting with a fluid, 
which has received the popular appellation of the 
" Elixir of Life." The present time, when his 
experiments are being so widely discussed by the 
press and elsewhere, seems to be a moment 
opportune for the appearance of a pamphlet stat- 
ing clearly and authoritatively just what the 
experiments and "elixir" are. 

The first announcement of the alleged discov- 
ery which is attracting so much attention was 
made by Dr. Brown-S^quard before the Society 
dc Biologic of Paris, June ist, 1S89. The paper 
then read, together with the remarks provoked 
by it, appeared in the Coniptes RenduSy or Tran>s- 
actions, of the society, for June 21st. 

A second communication was made to the same 
society on the 15th of June, and was published in 

20 The Elixir of Life. 

the same number of the Transactions. A third 
" Note " was read at the meeting of the 22nd, 
and appeared in the Transactions of the 28th, 
The substance of these three papers was after- 
wards embodied in an article contributed to the 
London Lancet of July 20. The latter being of 
smaller compass than the former, at the same 
time omitting nothing essential that was con- 
tained in them, and in fact throwing new light 
upon the subject, it is quoted here at length in 
preference to the earlier announcements. When, 
ever occasion arises to quote from the Transac. 
tions of the SociH^ de Biologie, the French will 
be translated. The Z^;/<:^/ article is in English, 
and as follows : 

" The Effects Produced on Man by Subcu- 
taneous Injections of a Liquid Obtained 
• FROM the Testicles of Animals. — 

" On June ist last I made at the Soci^te de Bio- 
logic of Paris a communication on the above sub- 
ject, which was published in the Comptes Ren- 
dus of that Society on June 21st (No. 24). I 
will give here a summary of the facts and views 

The Elixir of Life. 21 

contained in that paper and in two subsequent 
ones, adding to them some new points. 

''There is no need of describing at length the 
great effects produced on the organization of 
man by castration, when it is made before the 
adult age. It is particularly well known that 
eunuchs are characterized by their general debil- 
ity and their lack of intellectual and physical 
activity. There is no medical man who does 
not know also how much the mind and body of 
men (especially before the spermatic glands 
have acquired their full power, or when that 
.power is declining in consequence of advanced 
age) are affected by sexual abuse or by mastur- 
bation. Besides, it is well known that seminal 
losses, arising from any cause, produce a mental 
and physical debility which is in proportion to 
their frequency. These facts, and many others, 
have led to the generally-admitted view that in 
the seminal fluid, as secreted by the testicles, a 
substance or several substances exist which, 
entering the blood by resorption, have a most 
essential use in giving strength to the nervous 

22 The Elixir of Life. 

system and to other parts. But if what may be 
called spermatic anemia leads to that conclusion, 
the opposite state, which can be named spermatic 
plethora, gives as strong a testimony in favor 
of that conclusion. It is known that well-organ- 
ized men, especially from twenty to thirty-five 
years of age, who remain absolutely free from 
sexual intercourse or any other causes of expen- 
diture of seminal fluid, are in a state of excite- 
ment, giving them a great, although abnormal, 
physical and mental activity. These two series 
of facts contribute to show what great dynamo- 
genie power is possessed by some substance or 
substances which our blood owes to the testicles. 
*' For a great many years I have believed that 
the weakness of old men depended on two causes 
— a natural series of organic changes and the 
gradually diminishing action of the spermatic 
glands. In 1869, in a course of lectures at the 
Paris Faculty of Medicine, discussing the influ- 
ence possessed by several glands upon the ner- 
vous centers, I put forward the idea that if it 
were possible without danger to inject semen 

The Elixir of Life, 23 

into the blood of old men, we should probably 
obtain manifestations of increased activity as 
regards the mental and the various physical 
powers. Led by this view, I made various 
experiments on animals at Nahant, near Boston 
(United States), in 1875. In some of those 
experiments, made on a dozen male dogs, I tried 
vainly, except in one case, to engraft certain 
parts or the whole body of young guinea-pigs. 
The success obtained in the exceptional case 
served to give me great hopes that by a less 
difficult process I should some day reach my 
aim. This I have now done. At the end of 
last year I made on two old male rabbits experi- 
ments which were repeated since on several 
others, with results leaving no doubt as regards 
both the innocuity of the process used and the 
good effects produced in all those animals. 
This having been ascertained, I resolved to 
make experiments on myself, which I thought 
would be far more decisive on man than on ani- 
mals. The event has proved the correctness of 
that idea. 

24 The Elixir of Life, 

" This innocuity was also proved on a very old 
dog by twenty subcutaneous injections of a fluid 
similar to that I intended to employ on myself. 
No apparent harm resulted from these trials, 
which were made by my assistant, Dr. D' Arson- 

" For reasons I have given in many lectures 
in 1869 and since, I consider the spermatic as 
also the principal glands (kidneys, liver, etc.) 
as endowed, besides their secretory power, with 
an influence over the composition of blood, such 
as is possessed by the spleen, the thyroid, etc. 
Led by that view I have already made some 
trials with the blood returning from the testi- 
cles. But what I have seen is not sufficiently 
decisive to be mentioned here. 

" Leaving aside and for future researches the 
questions relating to the substance or substances 
which, being formed by the testicles, giv^e power 
to the nervous centers and various other parts, 
I have made use, in subcutaneous injections, of 
a liquid containing a very small quantity of 
water mixed with the three following parts : 

The Elixir of Life, 25 

First, blood of the testicular veins ; secondly, 
semen ; and thirdly, juice extracted from a testi- 
cle, crushed immediately after it has been taken 
from a dog or a guinea-pig. Wishing in all the 
injections made on myself to obtain the maxi- 
mum of effects, I have employed as little water 
as I could. To the three kinds of substances I 
have just named I added distilled water in a 
quantity which never exceeded three or four 
times their volume. The crushing was always 
done after the addition of water. When filtered 
through a paper filter the liquid was of a reddish 
hue, and rather opaque, while it was almost per- 
fectly clear and transparent when Pasteur's filter 
was employed. For each injection I have used 
nearly one cubic centimeter of the filtered liquid. 
The animals employed were a strong, and accord- 
ing to all appearances, perfectly healthy dog 
(from two to three years old), and a number of 
very young or adult guinea-pigs. The experi- 
ments, so far, do not allow of a positive conclu- 
sion as regards the relative power of the liquid 
obtained from a dog and that drawn from guin- 

26 The Elixir of Life. 

ea-pigs. All I can assert is that the two kinds 
of animals have given a liquid endowed with 
very great power. I have hitherto made ten 
subcutaneous inje-ctions of such a liquid — two 
in my left arm, all the others in my lower limbs 
— from May f5th to June 4th last. The first 
five injections were made on three succeeding 
days with a liquid obtained from a dog. In all 
the subsequent injections, made on May 24th, 
29th, and 30th, and June 4th, the liquid used 
came from guinea-pigs. When I employed 
liquids having passed through Pasteur's filter, 
the pains and other bad effects were somewhat 
less than when a paper filter was used. 

"Coming now to the favorable effects of these 
injections, I beg to be excused for speaking so 
much as I shall do of my own person. I hope 
it will easily be understood, that if my demon- 
stration has any value — I will even say any sig- 
nificance — it is owing to the details concerning 
the state of my health, strength, and habits pre- 
viously to my experiments, and to the effects 
they have produced. 

The Elixir of Life. 27 

" I am seventy-two years old. My general 
strength, which has been considerable, has no- 
tably and gradually diminished during the last 
ten or twelve years, Before May 15th last I 
was so weak that I was always compelled to sit 
down after an hour's work in the laboratory- 
P3ven when I remained seated all the time, or 
almost all the time, in the laboratory, I used to 
come out of it quite exhausted after three or 
four hours' experimental labor, and sometimes 
after only two hours. For many years, on 
returning home in a carriage by six o'clock, 
after several hours passed in the laboratory, I 
was so extremely tired that I invariably had to 
go to bed after having hastily taken a very 
small amount of food. Very frequently the ex- 
haustion was so great, that although extremely 
sleepy, I could not for hours go to sleep, and I 
only slept very little, waking up exceedingly 

" I ought to say, that notwithstanding that 
dark picture, my general health is and has been 
almost always good, and that I had very little to 

28 The Elixir of Life. 

complain of, excepting merycism and muscular 

"The day after the first subcutaneous injec- 
tion and still more after the two succeeding 
ones a radical change took place in me, and I 
had ample reason to say and to write that I had 
regained at least all the strength I possessed a 
good many years ago. Considerable laboratory 
work hardly tired me. To the great astonish- 
ment of my two principal assistants, Drs. 
D'Arsonval and Henocque, and other persons, 
I was able to make experiments for several 
hours while standing up, feeling no need what- 
ever to sit down. Still more : one day (the 23d 
of May), after three hours and a quarter of hard 
experimental labor in the standing attitude, I 
went home so little tired that after dinner I was 
able to go to work and to write for an hour and 
a half a part of a paper on a difficult subject. 
For more than twenty years I had never been 
able to do as much. My friends know, that 
owing to certain circumstances and certain hab- 
its, I have for thirty or forty years gone to bed 

The Elixir of Life, 29 

very early and done my writing work in the 
morning, beginning it generally between three 
and four o'clock. For a great many years I had 
lost all power of doing any serious mental work 
after dinner. Since my first subcutaneous in- 
jections I have very frequently been able to do 
such work two, three, and one evening for 
nearly four hours. From a natural impetuosity, 
and also to avoid losing time, I had, till I was 
sixty years old, the habit of ascending and de- 
scending stairs so rapidly that my movements 
were rather those of running than of walking. 
This had gradually changed, and I had come to 
move slowly up and down stairs, having to hold 
the banister in difficult staircases. After the 
second injection I found that I had fully re- 
gained my old powers, and returned to my pre- 
vious habits in that respect. 

" My limbs, tested with a dynamometer, for a 
week before my trial and during the month fol- 
lowing the first injection, showed a decided gain 
of strength. The average number of kilograms 
moved by the flexors of the right forearm, 

30 TJie Elixir of Life, 

before the first injection, was about 34 1-2 (from 
32 to 37), and after that injection 41 (from 39 
to 44), the gain being from 6 to 7 kilograms. 
In that respect the fore-arm flexors reacquired, 
in a great measure, the strength they had when 
I was Uving in London (more than twenty-six 
years ago). The average number of kilograms 
moved by those muscles in London in 1863 was 
43 (40 to 46 kilograms). 

" I have a record of the strength of my fore- 
arm, begun in March, i860, when I first estab- 
lished myself in London. From that time un_ 
til 1862 1 occasionally moved as much as fifty 
kilograms. During the last three years the 
maximum moved was thirty-eight kilograms. 
This year, previously to the first injection, the 
maximum was thirty-seven kilograms. Since 
the injection it has been forty-four. 

" I have measured comparatively, before and 
after the first injection, the jet of urine in simi- 
lar circumstances — that is, after a meal in 
which I had taken food and drink of the same 
kind in similar quantity. The average length 

Tlie Elixir of Life. 31 

of the jet during the ten days that preceded the 
first injection was inferior by at least one quar- 
ter of what it came to be during the twenty fol- 
lowing days. It is therefore quite evident that 
the power of the spinal cord over the bladder 
was considerably increased. 

" One of the most troublesome miseries of ad- 
vanced life consists in the diminution of the 
power of defecation. To avoid repeating the de- 
tails I have elsewhere given in that respect, I 
will simply say that after the first days of my 
experiments I have had a greater improvement 
with regard to the expulsion of fecal matters 
than in any other function. In fact a radical 
change took place, and even on days of great 
constipation the power I long ago possessed had 

" With regard to the facility of intellectual 
labor, which had diminished within the last few 
years, a return to my previous ordinary condi- 
tion became quite manifest during and after tfhe 
first two or three days of my experiments. 

" It is evident from these facts and from some 

32 The Elixir of Life. 

others that all the functions depending on the 
power of action of the nervous centers, and es- 
pecially of the spinal cord, were notably and 
rapidly improved by the injections I have used. 
The last of these injections was made on June 
4th, about five weeks and a half ago. I ceased 
making use of them for the purpose of ascer- 
taining how long their good effects would last. 
For four weeks no marked change occurred, but 
gradually, although rapidly, from the 3rd of this 
month (July) I have witnessed almost a com- 
plete return of the state of weakness which ex- 
isted before the first injection. This loss of 
strength is an excellent counterproof as regards 
the demonstration of the influence exerted on 
me by the subcutaneous injections of a sper- 
matic fluid. 

** My first communication to the Paris Biologi- 
cal Society was made with the wish that other 
medical men advanced in life would make on 
themselves experiments similar to mine, so as 
to ascertain, as I then stated, if the effects I 
had observed depended or not on any special 

The Elixir of Life. 33 

idiosyncrasy or on a kind of auto-suggestion 
without hypnotization, due to the conviction 
which I had before experimenting that I should 
surely obtain a great part at least of these 
effects. This last supposition found some 
ground in many of the facts contained in the 
valuable and learned work of Dr. Hack Tuke 
on the ** Influence of the Mind over the Body." 
Ready as I was to make on my own person ex- 
periments which, if they were not dangerous, 
were at least exceedingly painful, I refused ab- 
solutely to yield to the wishes of many people 
anxious to obtain the effects I had observed on 
myself. But, without asking my advice, Dr. 
Variot, a physician who believed that the sub- 
cutaneous injections of considerably diluted 
spermatic fluid could do no harm, has made a 
trial of that method on three old men — one 
fifty-four, another fifty-six, and the third sixty- 
eight years old.^ On each of them the effects 
have been found to be very nearly the same as 

^ The paper of Dr. Variot and my remarks upon it have appeared in the 
Contptes Rendus de la Societe de Biologie, No. 26, 5 Juillet, 1889, pp 451 
and 454. 

34 The Elixir of Life. 

those I have obtained on myself. Dr. Variot 
made use of the testicles of rabbits and guinea 

" In my third communication at the Biological 
Society, I said that both the intense pain each 
injection had caused me and the inflammation it 
has produced would be notably diminished if 
the liquid employed were more diluted. The 
three cases of Dr. Variot have proved the ex- 
actitude of my statement. He made use of a 
much larger amount of water, and his patients 
had to suffer no very great pain and no inflam- 

"These facts clearly show that it was not to a 
peculiar idiosyncrasy of mine that the effects 
I have pointed out were due. As regards the 
explanation of those effects by an auto-sugges- 
tion, it is hardly possible to accept it in the case 
of the patients treated by Dr. Variot. They 
had no idea of what was being done ; they knew 
nothing of my experiments, and were only told 
'that they were receiving fortifying injections. 
To find out if this qualification had anything to 

The Elixir of Life. 35 

do with the effects produced, Dr. Variot, since 
the publication of his paper, has employed 
similar words of encouragement, while making 
subcutaneous injections of pure water on two 
other patients, who obtained thereby no strength- 
ening effect whatever. 

" Since writing the above I have received a 
letter from Dr. Variot announcing that, after in- 
jecting the liquid drawn from the testicles into 
these two individuals, he has obtained the same 
strengthening effects I have myself experienced. 

'* I believe that, after the results of Dr. Variot's 
trials, it is hardly possible to explain the effects 
I have observed on myself otherwise than by 
admitting that the liquid injected possesses the 
power of increasing the strength of many parts 
of the human organism. I need hardly say 
that those effects can not have been due to 
structural changes, and that they resulted only 
from nutritive modifications, perhaps in a very 
great measure from purely dynamical influences 
exerted by some of the principles contained in 
the injected fluid. 

36 The Elixir of Life. 

" I have at present no fact to mention which 
might serve to solve the question whether it 
would be possible or not to change structur- 
ally muscles, nerves, and the nervous centers 
by making during a good many months frequent 
injections of the fluid I have used. As I 
stated at the Paris Biological Society, I have 
always feared, and I still fear, that the special 
nutritive actions which bring on certain changes 
in man and animals, from the primitive embryo- 
nal state till death by old age, are absolutely 
fatal and irreversible. But in the same way 
that we see muscles which have from disease 
undergone considerable structural alterations re- 
gain sometimes their normal organization, we 
may, I believe, see also some structural changes 
not essentially allied with old age, although ac- 
companying it, disappear to such a degree as to 
allow tissues to recover the power they pos- 
sessed at a much less advanced age. 

"Whatever may be thought of these specula- 
tions, the results I have obtained by experi- 
nients on myself and those which have been 

The Elixir of Life. 37 

observed by Dr. Variot on three old men show 

that this important subject should be further in- 
vestigated experimentally. 

" It may be well to add that there are good 
reasons to think that subcutaneous injections of 
a fluid obtained by crushing ovaries just ex- 
tracted from young or adult animals, and mixed 
with a certain amount of water, would act on 
old women in a manner analogous to that of the 
solution extracted from the testicles injected 
into old men." 

To the above, by way of supplement, are to 
be added the following translations of passages 
from the earlier Paris announcements. First 
from the second '* Note : " 

" Not only is there nothing to be astonished 
at in the fact that the introduction into the 
blood of principles taken from the testicles of 
young animals is followed by an augmentation 
of vigor, but this result is even to be expected. 
In fact, everything shows that the force of the 
spinal marrow and also, though in a less degree, 
that of the brain has, in adult or aged man. 

38 The Elixir of Life, 

fluctuations connected with the functional ac- 
tivity of the testicles. To the facts which I men- 
tioned in this connection at the sitting of the 
first of June, I believe I ought to add that the 
following particulars have been observed a great 
number of times in the course of several years 
in the case of two persons aged from forty-five 
years to fifty. At my advice, each time that 
they had a great piece of work, either physical 
or intellectual, to accomplish, they put them- 
selves into a state of active sexual excitement, 
avoiding, however, all seminal ejaculation. The 
glands of the testicles then temporarily acquired 
great functional activity, which was soon fol- 
lowed by the desired augmentation of power in 
the nervous centres." — Society de Biologie, Conip- 
tes ReiidiiSy June 21st, 1889, p. 420. 

Again : 

" It is evident that the pain and local inflam- 
mation from which I Ixive suffered after each 
injection might be very noticeably diminished 
by the employment of a liquid more diluted 
with water, and also by the injection of a cubic 

The Mixir of Life. 39 

half-centimeter in place of double that quan- 
tity. This is what I propose to do when I 
return to the introduction beneath the skin of 
the testicular fluid. But before making these 
new attempts, I shall have to employ another 
method, although it appears to me it must be 
inefficacious. I mean the injection of the testic- 
ular fluid into the intestine. It is probable 
that I shall be able to introduce a fluid much 
less irritating on account of the quantity of 
water which I shall add to it into the rectal cav- 
ity. The local irritative effects will thus be 
very notably diminished, if not annulled. But 
I have good reason to fear that the principles of 
the testicular fluid, which augment the power 
of the nervous centres, may be modified by the 
intestinal juices, and that things may then pro- 
ceed as in the stomach, where the work of diges- 
tion so completely changes the organic sub- 
stances which are found in our food. I greatly 
fear that we may be forced to lay aside all hope 
of making the active principles of the testicular 
fluid enter into the blood, unless we employ the 

40 The Elixir of Life. 

method of subcutaneous injections." — Ibid, pp. 

Again from the " Third Note : " 

"The idea which has conducted me in my 
experiments is, that the injections which I have 
made might replace the inefficacy of testicles 
but slightly active or inactive. I have good rea- 
son for believing that, if other persons succeed 
in their own cases in obtaining the favorable 
results which I have observed in my own case, 
a considerable palliative will have been found 
for the evil effects of seminal losses, in injec- 
tions of the testicular fluid of mammals. 

" It cannot be denied that the physiologists 
and physicians who may desire to repeat upon 
themselves my experiments might escape the 
pain by employing, simultaneously with the tes- 
ticular fluid, cocaine. I believe the inflamma- 
tion of the skin might be avoided if, in place of 
a single injection of a too considerable quantity, 
like that which I have employed, this should be 
divided so as to inject the tenth part of it only 
at any one point, making on the same day ten 

The Elixir of Life, 41 

injections instead of one, with the addition of a 
little distilled water." — Societe de Biologie^ 
Comptes Rendiis, June 28th, 1889, p. 431. 

Here follows a translation, from the Transac- 
tions of the Societe de Biologic for June 21st, of 
remarks called forth by the original announce- 
ment : 
"Remarks on the Subject of M. Browx-Se- 

quard's Communication, by M. Dumont- 


"The results established by M. Brown-Sequard, 
in consequence of subcutaneous injections of a 
peculiar fluid which held in suspension spermat- 
ic elements, are highly interesting, and, if the 
same results, under the same conditions of 
experiment, are established anew by other 
experimentors upon mammals and man, our 
learned President will have added a very import- 
ant discovery to the considerable discoveries 
which medicine and physiology already owe him. 
" But, while admitting that the major i:>art of 
the results obtained by M. Brown-Sequard is due 
to the peculiar nature of the fluid injected 

42 The Mixir of Life. 

beneath the skin, may it be permitted me to 
mention that the subcutaneous injections of 
sulphuric ether and traumatic irritations have 
allowed me to recall to life invalids whose exist- 
ence was gravely threatened, and that the sur- 
vival was prolonged seven days in one observa- 
tion and several years in a second one, although 
in both cases the existing organic lesions must 
have resulted sooner or later in death. — M. 
Brown-Sequard, better than any one else, knows 
that the common peripheric irritations, more or 
less repeated, irritations non-inflammatory, in a 
great number of cases, both physiological and 
therapeutic, often determine dynamogenic phe- 
nomena which are explained by the more or less 
permanent awakening of the principal functions. 
— In consequence, could not a certain part of 
the results in the case of M. Brown-Sequard's 
experiments be referred to the irritation of the 
nervous system of the periphery.? — Whatever 
may be the value of these remarks, they can in 
nothing diminish the importance of our learned 
President's experiments." 

The Elixir of Life. 43 

In answer to this, it is to be noted that the 
subjects of M. Variot's experiments, which will 
be described later, while experiencing no inflam- 
mation, exhibited the same improvement of con- 
dition as did M. Brown-Seqiiard. 

The following is translated entire from the 
Transactions of the SocietS de Biologie for July 
5th, 1889, pp. 451-5 • 

" Three experiments upon the Physiologi- 
cal Action of Testicular Juice injected 
beneath the skin, in accordance with m. 
Brown-Sequard's method, by M. G. Variot. 
" The fluid which served me to make the sub- 
cutaneous injections was obtained by the crush- 
ing and trituration, by the aid of nippers and a 
spatula, of the pulp of the testicle of a rabbit or 
adult guinea-pig, in ten cubic centimeters of 
distilled water. 

"The organs employed were absolutely fresh, 
having just been taken from the animals. 
" After crushing several minutes in the water the 
fragments of testicular parenchyma as much as 

44 The Elixir of Lif». 

possible, I decanted the fluid from the solid parts 
This fluid is reddened by the blood, slightly tur- 
bid, and contains in suspension small particles 
of pulp. — In each of my experiments, I injected 
beneath the skin two cubic centimeters of fluid, 
and the injections were forty-eight hours apart. 

'-^ Fii'st Experimeiit. — Man fifty-four years old, 
house-painter, very anaemic and debilitated 
from chronic intoxication. As a result of priva- 
tions, he was taken with a persistent diarrhoea. 

" His emaciation and debility were so great, 
that he kept his bed. 

" Unless one had known this man's profession 
and the symptoms of previous intoxication, one 
would have believed himself to be in the pres- 
ence of a case of visceral neoplasm of the abdo- 
men, in view of his ghastly appearance, his 
emaciation, and his state of languor. Eight 
days ago, nevertheless, he got up, when, on the 
22nd of June, I made beneath the skin of the 
abdomen two injections of fortifying fluid ; 
that is the name I gave the fluid with this inva- 
lid, in order to justify my operation. For three or 

The Elixir of Life. 45 

four hours, pain and pricking sensations suffici- 
ently lively in the region of the injections ; at the 
same time a feeling of general discomfort, with 
sensations of stiffness in the limbs. But in the 
evening this man experiences a feeling of unac- 
customed comfort, which lasts throughout the 
next day. * My head is better,' he says, ' I feel 
a flow of spirits, my limbs are more supple and 
elastic, I have more strength ; it seems to me as 
if I had been stimulated.' I notice, in fact, that 
the eye is much livelier, the face animated, and 
that he stands more firmly on his legs. He can 
walk without fatigue, he presses my hand with 

" Second injection the 24th of June. The 
effect is perceptibly the same on the following 
days ; the gaiety and high spirits return ; appe- 
tite greatly increased. — The 26th of June, this 
man experiences a return of virility, which has 
been wanting in him for several weeks. 

*' Third injection the 26th of June. The same 

'* Second Experiment. — Man fifty-six years 

46 The Elixir of Life. 

old, very atheromatous, with an enlarged heart. 
Subject to violent palpitations and dizzinesses. 
Has suffered greatly for lack of work and means, 
very emaciated and extremely weak. 

" He can stand only with difficulty, and walk 
but for a few instants without being obliged to 
sit down. 

'' Some tonics administered for two weeks 
and sufficient nourishment have not brought 
back his powers. He has no appetite. 

''First injection the 22nd of June (rabbit's 
testicle). Discomfort and lassitude all day, so 
great that he thinks he has caught cold. Never- 
theless, no elevation of temperature. The 25th 
he awakes wholly recovered. Since this day, he 
says, he feels more strength in his limbs, more 
elasticity ; he begins to walk. The 24th he 
finds a tremendous change in his condition, and 
congratulates me on having found an invigorat- 
ing fluid so active. ' I feel much more lively 
and strong, I can stand and move without becom- 
ing dizzy, as was the case before ; I am no 
longer the same.' He goes up and down stairs, 
leaves his chair, walks. 

The Elixir of Life. 47 

" Second injection the 24th of June (rabbit's 
testicle). This complete transformation in the 
condition of his powers and also of his mind per- 
sists. He has high spirits and feels gay, wheri 
before he was melancholy and oppressed. The 
24th of June he declares his appetite has greatly 
increased, that he feels very much stronger, and 
believes himself almost wholly re-established. 
He has had no spontaneous erection. 

" Third injection the 26th of June (guinea- 
pig's testicle). 

"The effects of nervous excitement continue, 
but the two injections made the 24th and 36th 
create no feeling of discomfort. 

** Third Experiment. — Man sixty-eight years 
old, who was attacked two months ago with 
pulmonary congestion complicated with bronchi- 
tis ; for a long time, he has been suffering with 
symptoms due to prostatic hypertrophy. His 
urine is purulent. He seldom leaves his bed, 
most of his functions are performed with lan- 
guor, he eats very little. 

"The 24th of June, two injectioiis of the tes- 

48 The Elixir of Life. 

ticular juice of a rabbit beneath the skin of the 

" He feels for several hours lively pains and 
great discomfort. But after ttie next day he 
declares that he feels the good effects of the 
fortifying fluid. ' He takes a walk with pleas- 
ure, feels stronger, would like to lift weights as 
when twenty years old.' The 26th of June he 
awakes ' sharp set,' he says, as he has not been 
for a long time. He is enchanted at the effect 
of the injection, but suffers much from his blad- 
der, while hoping speedily to regain all his pow- 
ers to undergo the surgical treatment which will 
cure it. 

'* Second injection the 26th of June (guinea- 
pig's testicle) ; the first (24th of June) was made 
with the testicle of a rabbit. 

" On the 27th this man says to us spontane- 
ously * that he woke up in the night with an erec- 
tion, a thing which had not happened to him for 
over two months.' Moreover, he had a natural 
stool, which is equally contrary to his habits, 
since he does not ordinarily have a passage with- 

The Elixir of Life. 49 

out an injection. He expresses his satisfaction 
with great animation. 

''Conclusion. — These three cases, observed 
with complete impartiahty, seem to me to show : 

*' I. That the subcutaneous injections of tes- 
ticular juice are painful, but harmless, creating 
no inflammation when they are made with 
wholly suitable instruments. I have not seen 
the complications indicated by M. Brown-Se- 
quard, though I have made sixteen injections. 

" Once only was produced a slight ecchymosis, 
which still persists. This ecchymosis is due to 
the puncture of a vein. 

'* 2. The first effect of the injection has been 
to occasion a local pain, together with a general 
feeling of uneasiness, but without elevation of 
temperature. It is not then possible to explain 
the symptoms which follow by febrile excite- 
ment, as M. Fer^ proposes. 

" 3. The injections which follow the first are 
well supported, and no longer determine feelings 
of general uneasiness ; they are, nevertheless, 
sufficiently painful. 

50 The Elixir of Life. 

"4. As positive effect, I note a state of gen- 
eral nervous excitement ; augmentation of the 
muscular force ; excitement and regulation of 
certain visceral functions, and notably of the 
digestive tube ; slight cerebral excitement. The 
men upon whom I have made these experiments 
belong to a class, in which it is a dif^cult matter 
to give an account of psychical excitement, 
properly so called. 

** Genital excitement has been produced in 
two cases out of three. 

''These observations seem to me to be sufifi- 
ciently harmonious to merit beii"»g continued 
with more precision. I propose to myself, when 
I shall have an opportunity of doing so, to take 
a witness upon whom I shall inject distilled 

" These three men do not read the newpapers, 
and are in consequence not acquainted with M. 
Brown-Sequard's experiments. I am content, 
by way of stating the motive of my injections, 
to tell these invalids that I inject upon them a 
fortifying fluid. All three insisted the injec- 
tions should be continued. 

The Mixir of Life, 51 

*' The symptoms of nervous excitement, which 
I have stated in the case of these three men, 
are so similar, that they employ the same terms 
in characterizing what they have experienced. 
" Can these symptoms be explained by a sort 
of auto-suggestion, aroused by these little ope- 
rations ? 

*' Or, on the other hand, must they be attrib- 
uted to the action itself of the injected sub- 
stance, in accordance with M. Brown-Sequard's 
interpretation ? 

" I do not believe myself to be authorized by 
so small a number of facts, in spite of their 
apparent agreement, in positing formulated con- 
clusions either way. 

" Remarks on the occasion of M. Variot's 
Paper upon the Injections of Testicu- 
lar Fluid in the case of Man, by M. 

" I. The facts reported by M. Variot have 
assuredly great weight.^ Whatever may be 

" ^ It is of consequence to say that M. Variot had no belief in success, 
when he began his experiments. Quite to the contrary, he expected nega- 
tive resuhs. 

52 The Elixir of Life, 

the idea adopted with regard to the explanation 
of the phenomena, there remains, if we add to 
these facts that which I have observed in my 
own case, this result, that upon four old men 
effects of the same order have appeared after 
subcutaneous injections of juice extracted from 
the spermatic glands. 

" After my experiments, it might have been 
demanded whether, as I said in my first commu- 
nication, the effects of these injections did not 
depend upon my personal idiosyncrasy. This 
question is peremptorily answered by the fact 
that four old men, very different each from the 
others, in age, habits of life, state of health, etc., 
experienced similar effects after the injections 
of which we are speaking. It is clear that these 
effects depend upon a totally different cause, 
from the idiosyncrasy of the individuals sub- 
jected to these experiments. 

'' Does this cause consist in an influence of 
the testicular juice upon the nervous system } 
Is it not rather an auto-suggestion, without hyp- 
notization } There is no doubt but that I was 

The Elixir of Life. 53 

surrounded by circumstances the most favorable 
for the production of dynamic changes, changes 
of nutrition, secretion, etc., by the influence of 
a moral cause capable of acting as hypnotic sug»- 
gestions act. Before undertaking my experi- 
ments, I felt convinced that I should see all the 
effects appear in me which did appear. This 
condition, essential to the influence of an auto- 
suggestion, existed then in me in the highest 
degree. The effects which appeared were more 
energetic than I had expected to establish ; that 
is the only difference between my expectation 
and what happened. 

**The three individuals whose history M. Va- 
riot gives us were surrounded by conditions to- 
tally different from mine. None of them knew 
what the matter in hand was. It had been'sim- 
ply told them that use was made of a fortify- 
ing fluid. Can it be believed that this indi- 
cation was sufficient to occasion, by suggestion, 
effects as marked as those which appeared } 
How could the belief be entertained, when one 
remembers that every day we cause tonics to be 

54 The Elixir of Life. 

taken, promising the invalids their strength will 
increase, and that it is only seldom and slowly 
we see a favorable energetic action occur, 
while in M. Variot's three cases the good effects 
followed . very rapidly, and in all three individ- 
uals ? There is then reason for believing that 
it was indeed the injected fluid that in those 
cases produced the phenomena of dynamogeny 
of the nervous centres and especially of the 
spinal marrow. 

" 11. It is of consequence to repeat that the 
fluid obtained by the trituration of fresh tes- 
ticles with the addition of a little water must be 
employed only after filtration, and that Pasteur's 
filter should be selected in preference to those 
made of paper. Although M. Variot has per- 
formed without accident injections with a liquid 
which has not been filtered, there is no doubt 
but that a risk is run of septicaemia in acting 

** III. The choice of an animal whose testicle 
to use is important. I believe that the guinea- 
pig should be preferred to the rabbit or dog 

The Elixir of Life. 55 

The dogs, with which we have had an acquaint- 
ance long enough to be sure there exists in 
their case no probability of rabies, might per- 
haps be more advantageously employed than 
guinea-pigs ; but it would be necessary to avoid 
using dogs which one has not been able to have 
under his eyes for several days. It might per- 
haps be dangerous to employ rabbits' testicles, 
by reason of the possibility of worm-germs. 

"As to the employment in veterinary medi- 
cine of injections of testicular fluid, I beheve 
that, to satisfy the necessity of having testicles 
larger than ^ those of guinea-pigs, it will be 
necessary to employ the spermatic glands of 
sheep or of calves already somewhat mature. 

" IV. I have received a great number of 
letters, asking whether the testicular fluid could 
be employed with advantage in other cases than 
in those of individuals debilitated by old age 
alone. It is quite natural to believe that there 
might be advantages, in cases of debility, in 
making use of injections of this liquid, when 
the testicles have much less power of secretion 

56 The Elixir of Life. 

than they should have in adult man in the nor- 
mal state. It might be especially useful to 
make these injections in cases of debility con- 
nected with seminal losses, with disorders of 
the testicles, or with venereal excesses, espe- 
cially when these have occurred at an advanced 


Pertinent and interesting will be some refer- 
ence, however necessarily incomplete, to con- 
temporaneous authoritative opinion. The fol- 
lowing extracts are given for what they are 
worth, and with but little attempt at arrange- 
ment : 

The Medical Age^ Aug. 26, 1889, announces 
that a firm of druggists, actuated by "the desire 
of determining the utility of the now well-known 
and much abused suggestions of Brown-Sequard, 
regarding the tonic properties of testicular fluid, 
of discovering its active principle, and of provid- 
ing a preparation of it free from the objections 
inseparable from that commended by this distin- 
guished scientist, that physicians might further 
experiment with it," claim to have discovered 

58 The Elixir of Life. 

and to furnish for use the active principle con- 
tained in " testicular fluid." The article in ques- 
tion, which bears the heading " The Rationale 
of the Brown-S^quard Treatment," goes on to 
say : 

"The main subject which has engrossed at- 
tention, and which is of momentous interest to 
the practical physician is the possibility of ob- 
taining the active principle in a concentrated 
form. The expectations entertained, seem to 
have been fully realized. Having discovered a 
base, or alkaloidal substance, in the testicles of 
various animals, its identification with a normal 
constituent of the human body and special glands, 
was not attended with any great difficulty. 

" Physiological experiments have established 
the fact that in salts of the alkaloid Spermine^ we 
have the cause for the stimulant effects observed 
by Dr. Brown-Sequard. Inasmuch as the sub- 
stance can be obtained in a crystalline condition, 
and is quite permanent, no danger of septicae- 

' This substance is a leucomaine or physiological alkaloid, one of the 
natural products of living bodies. 

The Elixir of Life. 59 

mia tan exist. After exposure to boiling alcohol 
and boiling water, bacterial agents cannot well 
survive. Injections made on animals, as well as 
in individuals, show that the claims made on be- 
half of this remedy, rest on a secure foundation. 
Although the action of various animal substances 
on the economy has been known for so long, the 
many difficulties attending the administration of 
readily decomposable and highly nitrogenized 
bodies, has been a barrier to experimental de- 
monstration and recognition of the true agent 
at issue. 

** The following will make clear the physiolog- 
ical features of the problem : 

' Spermine, C'^ H^ X, is the basic substance ob- 
tained by Schreiner (1878) from semen, calf s heart, 
calf's liver, bull's testicles, and also from the sur- 
face of anatomical specimens kept under alcohol. 
Previous to this, however, it had been known for a 
long time under the name of ' Charcot-Xeumann's 
crystals,' which are the phosphate of spermine. 
These peculiarly-shaped crystals have been found in 
the sputa of a case of emphysema with catarrh, in 
the bronchial discharges in acute bronchitis, as Avell 
as in sputa of chronic bronchitis, in the blood. 

60 The Elixir of Life. 

spleen, etc., of leucocythsemics and anaemics, aflcl in 
the normal marrow of human bones, as well as in 
human semen. Altogether it seems to have a very 
wide distribution, especially in certain diseases, as 
in leucocythaemia. 

' It can be prepared from fresh human semen in 
the following manner : The semen is washed out of 
linen by a little warm water, evaporated to dry- 
ness, boiled with alcohol, and the insoluble portion 
allowed to subside by standing some hours. The 
precipitate is filtered off, washed, and dried at 100°. 
This residue, containing the spermine phosphate, is 
triturated, and then extracted with warm ammoniar 
cal water. From this solution, on slow evaporation, 
the phosphate crystallizes in its peculiar-shaped 

' The free base is obtained, on decomposing the 
phosphate with baryta and evaporating the filtrate, 
as a colorless liquid, which, on cooling, crystallizes. 
From alcohol it crystallizes in wavellite-shaped 
crystals, which readily absorb water and carbonic 
acid from the atmosphere. They are readily soluble 
in water and in absolute alcohol, almost insoluble 
in ether, and possess a strongly alkaline reaction. 
When heated with platinum it gives off thick, white 
fumes, and a weak ammoniacal odor. The aqueous 
solution of the base is precipitated by phosphomo- 
lybdic and phosphotungstic acids, tannic acid, gold 
and platinum chlorides. 

^The hydrochloride, C^H^KHCl, crystallizes in 

The Elixir of Life. 61 

six-sided prisms, united in tufts, and is extremely 
soluble in water, almost insoluble in absolute alco- 
hol and ether. 

'The aurochloride, C^H^N.HCl AuCl,^ forms 
shining golden-yellow, irregular plates, and when 
freshly precipitated it is easily soluble in water, 
alcohol, and ether, but the dried salt is incom- 
pletely soluble in water. The aqueous solution, 
treated with magnesium, gives oif a sperm-like 
odor. The platinochloride crystallizes in prisms. 

' The phosphate (C2H5N)2.H3PO*+3H-^0(?),forms 
prisms and slender double pyramids. It is diffi- 
cultly soluble in hot water, insoluble in alcohol, 
easily soluble in dilute acids, alkalies, and alkali 
carbonates. It melts with decomposition at about 
170°. It is probable that the above formula does 
not represent the salt as found, and from theoreti- 
cal considerations Ladenburg is inclined to think 
that Schreiner's phosphate has the composition (C^ 
H^NH)*Ca(P0^)2.— i^rom Vaughan's & Noveifs com- 
pilation on Ptomaines and Leucoiwdnes.^ 

" Again, in the work of Landois and Stirling 
(' Text Book of Human Physiology'), we read : 

* Chemical Coonjwsition. — The seminal Jltiid, as dis- 
charged from the uretha, is mixed with the secretion 
of the glands of the vas deferens, Cowper's glands, 
and those of the prostate, and with the fluid of the 
vesiculee seminales. Its reaction is neutral or alka- 


The Elixir of Life. 

line, and it contains 82 per cent, of water, serum-al- 
bumin, alkali-album inate, nuclein, lecithin, clioles- 
terin, fats (protamin?), phospborizecl fat, salts (2 
per cent.), especially phosphates of the alkalies and 
earths, together with sulphates, carbonates, and 
chlorides. The odorous body, whose nature is un- 
known, was called ^ spermatin ' by Yauquelin. 

^ Fig, 548. — Crystals from Spermatic Fluid. 

^Seminal Fluid. — The sticky, whitish-yellow 
seminal fluid, largely composed of a mixture of the 

The Elixir of Life. 63 

secretions of the above-named glands, when exposed 
to the air, becomes more fluid, and on adding water 
it becomes gelatinous, and from it separate whitish, 
transparent flakes. When long exposed, it forms 
rhomboidal crystals, which, according to Schreiner, 
consist of phosphatic salts with an organic base( C^ 
H^N). These crystals (Fig. 548) are said to be de- 
rived from the prostatic fluid, and are identical with 
the so-called Charcot's crystals (Fig. 144, c, and 
§ 138). The prostatic fluid is thin, milky, ampho- 
teric, or of slightly acid reaction, and is possessed 
of the seminal odor. The phosphoric acid necessary 
for the formation of the crystals is obtained from 
the seminal fluid. A somewhat similar odor occurs 
in the albumen of eggs not quite fresh. The secre- 
tion of the vesiculse seminales of the guinea pig 
contains much fibrinogen (Hensen and Landivehr.'') 

" Even ancient works furnish a corroboration 
of Dr. Sequard's results. The following from 
' The New London Dispensatory,' by Dr. Sal- 
mon, issued in 1684, being a translation of the 
late edition by the Fellows of the College of 
Physicians, dated 1676, will show what results 
were attributed to the internal administration 
of materials now under consideration, even 
though they were prepared in a crude way, and 
though good interpreters were lacking : 

64 The Elixir of Life. 

^ The Boar : The stones and pizzle (dried) for 
weakness of genitals and barrenness. 

' The genitals of a dog are used by magicians to 
provoke lust. 

' Castor : ' It revives and quickens the spirits, 

' Deer: The stones dried and drunk in wine, ex- 
cite lust. 

' Horse : The testicles in powder excite venery, 

'' It is needless to multiply these quotations. 
Suffice it to say that to preparations obtained 
from the otter, hare, weasel, panther or leopard, 
badger, bear, fox (among four-legged animals), 
similar properties are ascribed. 

"Among birds, the eagle, buzzard, quail, 
crane, and domestic cock are credited with sim- 
ilar stimulating properties. 

** In the fish kingdom, we have the oyster, 
cockles, the poulp, thornback, roach, and espe- 
cially the sturgeon. Regarding the latter, it is 
worth while to make an extract from Dr. Sal- 
mon's work : * The spawn with salt makes cavi- 
are, which nourishes, increases seed, and excites 
lust, etc' 

The Elixir of Life, 65 

" It is to be regretted that our periodical 
sources of information, the newspapers, should 
have given the whole subject a highly sensational- 
clothing, and employed a figure of speech * El- 
ixir of Life,' which is entirely unwarranted. 

** Dr. Brown-Sequard never made any extrava- 
gant claims for this treatments In fact his arti- 
cle is characterized by modesty and cautious- 

*' That the method of preparation employed 
by Dr. Brown-Sequard is rather unscientific or 
at least unpharmaceutical, goes without saying. 
At the same time the credit of devising this 
means of resupply of the energizing principle is 
his due, and is deserving of the highest recog- 
nition. Evidently, since the salt in question 
appears to be quite permanent, there exists no 
valid argument against its employment as a per- 
fectly safe and legitimate medicinal agent. 

** The action of the remedy appears to be sim- 
ply that of a stimulant, and the duration of its 
action is limited by natural causes. 

"It is excreted through natural channels, the 

66 The Elixir of Life. 

urine, faeces, etc. The employment of boy's urine 
in South America as an equivalent to beef tea 
or extract of beef, may be regarded also con- 
firmatory evidence of the tonic stimulant effect 
of natural secretions. 

" That it wastes or departs from the system 
in diseased conditions is shown by quotations 
from ' Landois and Stirling,' and the same con- 
ditions are undoubtedly partly responsible for 
the debility of old age. 

" It is, of course, rather early to speculate on 
its mode of action, but enough has been ascer- 
tained to point out the proper line of research. 
Whether it be simply a nerve stimulant or 
whether it has a direct influence on the organ- 
ized elements (corpuscles) of the blood itself, of 
a revivifying or energizing nature, will in due 
course be determined. 

" The very fact that it is wasted or excreted 
in diseased conditions, characterized by import- 
ant lesions, is a strongly corroborative element 
of our syllogism. When we replace the loss, an 
increase of vitality results. 

The Elixir of Life. , 67 

** There can be no valid argument against the 
employment of the pure salt by the stomach, in- 
asmuch as we already partake of it in meats of 
all kinds. Much must, however, be wasted in 
this manner. If used in form of the phosphate, 
or hydrochlorate, it would appear advisable to 
give it when the condition and contents of the 
stomach are best calculated to allow of its ab- 
sorption. Being a crystalloid, spermine and its 
salts are dialysable, and would therefore be ab- 
sorbed readily if the process were not obstructed 
by too great a quantity of food matters. 

" It may be noted here that in experimental 
administration, all ammonia with which the salt 
is usually associated, was carefully removed, as 
also the phosphoric acid combined with it, as it 
exists in the structures. The results obtained 
from the hydrochlorate, show that the alkaloid 
itself is the active agent. On healthy individuals, 
the substance seems to act simply as an exhila- 
rant or stimulant to the nervous system, this fact 
being especially noticeable in its action on the 
sexual apparatus. The strength of solution used, 

68 The Elixir of Life. 

was 4 grains of spermine hydrochlorate to the 
ounce, representing, in each 15 minims, one 
eighth grain of the salt. Its entire safety having 
been first demonstrated on animals, it was after- 
wards employed on suitable human subjects. 
One case in animals is deserving of especial 
mention : A rather aged cat had a fang extracted 
some six months ago, there being at that time an 
ulcerated condition, and an abscess subsequently 
formed directly under the eye, the latter suppu- 
ratin:^ continuously. After three injections (one 
daily) the suppuration has entirely disappeared, 
and increased vivacity of the animal is also no- 

"An aged negro, long troubled with rheuma- 
tism and general decrepitude,due to exposure and 
habits, after three injections showed a remark- 
able improvement. Whereas he could previous- 
ly raise himself on the steps of a street car with 
great difficulty only, requiring a stoppage of two 
or three minutes, he is now able to enter without 
delay, almost as easily as any healthy person 
would. Injections were made in both arms and 

The Mixir of Life. 69 

legs, and he can now move all the members as he 
has been unable to do for many years. It may be 
remarked that he had no knowledge of the mate- 
rial employed, or of the supposed effects. It is 
needless here to multiply cases, as the object of 
investigation was mainly to identify the active 
principle and demonstrate the possibility of pre- 
senting it in a state of purity. 

" Regarding the alleged dangers of this 
treatment, it may be said that the forjn of 
medication itself is not unattended with dan- 
ger in unskilled hands. Too often the physician 
is an unskilful mechanic, and where the syringe 
should be kept superlatively clean and always 
sterilized after each operation, it often becomes, 
through neglect and consequent accumulation 
of septic matter in the needle or barrel, an in- 
strument of torture, or worse. Of these mistakes, 
or sins of omission, we seldom hear. 

*' In conclusion, several questions may be per- 
tinent as a compact grouping of the reasoning 
employed : 

" I. Why do all animals that are continent 
display excessive energy ? 

70 The Elixir of Life. 

" 2. Why does excessive indulgence, or loss of 
the seminal fluid, invariably weaken the animal ? 

" 3. Why is a larger quantity of spermine con- 
tained in the generative parts and nervous sys- 
tem, than in other organs of the body ? 

*' 4. Why is this substance found in the sputum 
or detritus of wasting structures ? 

" 5. Why do such marked tonic results follow 
its replacement. 

*' 6. Why do certain kinds of food-material, 
now known to contain this principle, act as de- 
cided stimulants, and the evidence of which is 
usually first discerned in the condition of the 
generative apparatus ? " 

Upon this an editorial in the same periodical 
comments as follows : 

** In the scales of professional opinion, the 
merits and demerits of Brown-Sequard's 
claims, are about evenly balanced. No small 
amount of ridicule has emanated from different 
sources, notably certain members of the French 
Academy, which appears somewhat incongruous, 
to say the least. It is passing strange that those 

The Elixir of Life, 71 

who unhesitatingly accepted the weather-cock 
assertions of Pasteur, unsupported as they 
were, and are, by evidence, and based upon no 
tangible scientific fact, should without inquiry 
reject the claims of a scientist of world-wide 
reputation, made upon the strength of nearly a 
quarter of a century of careful honest experi- 
mentation. It is sad to think that the gentle- 
man to whom we are most indebted for our 
advance in neuropathology and physiology, 
should be the subject of ribald jests, while the 
emanations of the Laboratorie de Rage, based 
upon experiments of one day, entirely divested 
of control, are eagerly snapped up the day fol- 
lowing, loudly heralded, and widely disseminated. 
Were Dr. Brown-Sequard's statements proven 
wholly fallacious, which they are very far from 
being, his age, professional standing, and well 
known honor and probity should, at least, 
entitle him to respectful attention. 

"But his claims have not as yet been dis- 
proven by any reliable experiment. On the con- 
trary every day brings more or less confirmation 

72 The Elixir of Life, 

— not through the lay press, who have taken the 
matter up in a sensational way ; not through 
the irresponsible parties calling themselves phy- 
sicians who rush into public print twelve hours 
after an imperfect investigation, or perhaps none 
at all ; neither by those who have attempted the 
experiment, and unfamiliar with its details, have 
failed. It is such who bring discredit upon 
experimental physiology and pathology, and who 
tend to intensify the would-be sarcasm of ' Elixir 
of Life,' and make it the rallying cry for all 
classes of pretenders. This very fact is most 
unfortunate and to be deplored, as it deters 
many honest professional men from entering the 
arena of experimentation and research, while it 
has also served a host of charlatans with the 
means of advertising themselves and their wares, 
with little trouble and expense. Worse still, 
many of the profession have taken their cue 
from the public press, hence have conceived an 
entirely erroneous opinion regarding both Prof. 
Brown-Sequard and his claims. 

'*Dr. Sequard nowhere heralds an 'Elixir of 

The Elixir of Life. 73 

Life,' ' Fountain of Youth,' or other such non- 
sense, and this likening to Ponce de Leon, is 
simply an emanation of the reportorial brain. 
His statement made before the Sociitt^ de Bio- 
logic, is simply to the effect that, in his own case, 
and in experiments conducted more or less con- 
tinuously since 1869, he had reason to believe a 
discovery had been made of a new nerve stimu- 
lant, concealed, or contained, in the spermatic 
secretion ; that its influence is chiefly expended 
upon the exhausted central nervous system. 
The fact it relates to the most sacred portions 
of the animal economy, and that the abuse of 
these organs by man is such as to bring not only 
them, but their possessors, in moral disrepute* 
seems to tempt popular and vulgar levity. 

'* The claims, however, are not altogether new 
to the world, presumably. We now have every 
reason to believe that the ancient civilizations — 
Chaldea, Egypt, and Ethiopia for instance — for- 
got more of pathology and physiology than we 
yet know. Among these ancient peoples there 
was a strong veneration for the sexual apparatus 

74 The Elixir of Life. 

as the origin of Life, which underlay their wor- 
ship, and yet survives esoterically to every 
known religion of the world, Christianity 
included ; to-day the phallic and yoni emblems 
appertain to the worship of the Nazarine and his 
virgin mother. We find the same reverence 
vulgarized, yet plainly patent in the Middle 
Ages ; also that the generative organs and their 
products, from their earliest times to the present, 
were regarded as furnishing potent remedies for 
diseases of a certain class. In the British Phar- 
macopaeia of 1676 (Salmon) such products are 
accredited with inciting lust, furthering impreg- 
nation, stimulation of the sexual function in 
both sexes, and preventing * falling sickness ' 
(epilepsy). These have fallen in disrepute, not 
from evidence of lack of therapeutic activity, but 
on account of inexpediency — difficulty of secur- 
ing and preparing. To-day, in portions of Eng- 
land the farriers employ the secretions of testes, 
administered on a fasting stomach, to renew the 
sexual function in exhausted stallions and other 
stock getters, and it must be admitted such 

The Elixir of Life, 75 

therapeusis is attended with a degree of success 
entirely incompatible with the claim of coinci- 

"All this goes to show that Brown-Sequard 
had a practical basis for his experiments, and, 
moreover, that from the first they were not 
devoid of scientific probabihty. It is a trite 
assertion of Science, that * No superstition or 
myth is wholly devoid of truth/ 

** Further, the existence, long known, of Char- 
cot-Neumann's crystals, presupposed an alkaloid, 
that has recently been identified, and corres- 
ponds exactly to the Spermine of Schreiner, 
C^H^N (1878). The alkaloid is further found 
in the gray nerve-matter of the brain, in eggs, 
oysters, lampreys, fish ovae and milt ; likewise 
in the products of all atonic mucous mem- 
branes whence is developed excessive secre- 
tion or waste. Still further research has devel- 
oped its presence in excess in the sputa of senile 
and acute bronchitis, in the expectorations of 
phthisis, and of emphysema with catarrh, and 
in the blood and spleen of anaemics and leuco- 

76 The Elixir of Life. 

" Certainly there is food for reflection in the 
fact this product is discoverable in wasting dis- 
eases in excess. In the circulation of leuco- 
cythaemics, where the proportion of white blood 
corpuscles to red is as one to three, instead of 
as in health one to three Jmndred and seventy- 
three, spermine is readily isolated in considerable 
quantities, and the brain suffers correspondingly 
for lack of a vital element. 

*' It is a well known physiological fact, that 
those suffering from wasting diseases fail men- 
tally and physically in a degree altogether dis- 
proportionate to the amount of food ingested 
and assimilated ; especially is this true in catar- 
rhal pneumonia. We must, then, look for some 
other element than the mere fact of waste, as 
generally understood. Again, the loss of the 
vital portions of the sexual apparatus, which 
interfere with the secretion of the seminal fluid, 
so completely transforms the individual, physic- 
ally and mentally, that physiology has been 
forced to acknowledge an unknown cause, 
inadequate of explanation by mere loss of gland- 

The Elixir of Life. 77 

ular tissue. Such individuals are rarely long- 
lived, are exceptionally predisposed to disease, 
are lacking in general brain activity, and inca- 
pable of great physical and mental exertion. 

" Again, it is an indisputable fact that genital 
affections of all classes are accompanied by pal- 
lor, wasting and general exhaustion of the econ- 
omy, most manifest in the central nervous sys- 
tem, a most pitiable condition ensuing. The 
wasting diseases of the female organism, notably 
leucorrhaea, are as positive in these effects as 
the excessive loss of semen, or a violent ure- 
thritis, in the male. Barrenness is a frequent 
concomitant, and invariable when the discharge 
is both profuse and of long standing, and there 
is the usual evidence of mental decrepitude. 
Observe how rapidly the cachectic, chlorotic, 
nervo-sanguine blonde girl, and the prematurely 
aged and haggard spinster of middle life, both 
suffering from excessive lues, by happy marriage, 
even when entailing unaccustomed labor, in 
great degree, renew vitality, youth, and health, 
and obtain rapid abatement of the flux ! 

78 The Elixir of Life. 

- '' In laboratory experiments it has been found 
that the JiydrocJdorate of spermine (C ^ H ^ N. H 
C 1) is the most desirable and convenient prep- 
aration of the alkaloid, as it is freely soluble in 
water ; to casual inspection it resembles hydro- 
chlorate of cocaine." Of them, " it may be said 
they were undertaken in a somewhat skeptical 
spirit, and they embraced a period of six weeks. 
Though not perfected in all details, enough has 
been discovered to warrant the assumption that 
there is a good deal more than mere assertion in 
the claims of Prof. Brown-Sequard. It seems 
probable the salt will prove a valuable addition 
to our materia medica as a haematic and nerve 
stimulant, with specific applicability in collapse, 
wasting diseases, and certain forms of mental 

" Regarding the irresponsible experiments 
undertaken, or claimed to have been made, 
appearing daily in the lay press, it may be 
remarked that the majority bear prima facie 
evidence of spuriousness. We may also believe 
that more than one case of septicaemia has been 

The Elixir of Life, 79 

developed, since ignorance of the method of 
preparation, of segregation of effete and danger- 
ous products, of removal of possible micro-or- 
ganisms, and of the physiological axiom, that 
'The truth of the positive is developed only by 
the negative,' is unwittingly self confessed. 

"The seminal secretion, per se^ is a fluid of 
extreme instability, and when mixed with blood 
corpuscles tends to rapid decomposition. Unless 
obtained immediately after the death of the ani- 
mal, and rapidly prepared and filtered, its 
employment is prone to be attended with disas- 
trous consequences, and even then it can not be 
deemed positively safe unless the preparation 
has been such as to carefully inculcate sterility 
through every stage of the process. 

" Some of the adverse criticisms that obtain 
are based upon false premises. One writer claims 
to have secured identical results from the sub- 
cutaneous injection of serum, but this is not ten- 
able, since this fluid, with extremely rare excep- 
tions, when thrown into the cellular tissue, 
induces abscess formation, a fact that never 


80 The Elixir of Life, 

occurs with spermine, or properly prepared tes- 
ticular fluid. Again, a chemist, Mr. J. D. Riker, 
ascribes the virtues claimed by Brown-Sequard, 
to the ammonio-phosphate of magnesium, and 
phosphatic salts, such as are found in semen ; 
yet no microscopist or chemist would mistake 
the crystals of spermine for any of these salts, 
as they are widely divergent in form and arrange- 
ment. Further, the phosphates produce no 
appreciable result in any doses that are compat- 
ible with the use of the hypodermic syringe, 
and the physiological effects of phosphorus (as 
cited by this writer), are very far from being 
those of the \)\\osphates, either individually or 
collectively. Hydrochlorate of spermine, how- 
ever, employed subcutaneously in a dose of one- 
fortieth of a grain, in a dog thirteen pounds, in- 
duced marked physical and mental activity, and 
powerful and prolonged stimulation of the genital 
system. This experiment has been repeated sev- 
eral times with identical results : and here at 
least these sequels cannot be attributed to 
imagination, or psychic influence, since control 

The Elixir of Life, 81 

experiments were wholly negative, and operator 
and observer alike skeptical. It is interesting 
to note also that experiments undertaken by M. 
Variot (Therapeutic Gazette, August, 1889, p. 
566), of the French Academy, by Prof. W. A. 
Hammond, and by Dr. H. C. Brainard, of Cleve- 
land, are all corroborative of those of Brown-Se- 
quard. Space will not permit of details, but we 
will undoubtedly have occasion to allude thereto, 
and to the labors of other investigators again in 
the near future. And, while we are not pre- 
pared to assert so profound advantages are to be 
derived from the new discovery as are claimed, 
there is little doubt hydrochlorate of spermine 
will find, for a time at least, a field of useful- 

In a contribution, admirably exact in state- 
ment, logical and fair, to the Medical Record, of 
New York, Aug. 24, 1889, Dr. Henry P. 
Loomis, of New York, reports from his own 
practice ten cases treated by injection of " tes- 
ticular fluid," of whom five were ignorant of 
and five understood the character of the treat- 

82 The Elixir of Life. 

ment. Dr. Loomis's observations and conclu- 
sions are : 

1. While the closest scrutiny of the materials 
used is demanded, with proper care there need 
be no danger of septicaemia. Bad results fol- 
lowed in none of his cases, and in only a few did 
the injection cause a moderate amount of pain, 
lasting from six hours to eight. 

2. The fluid exerts upon the nerve-centres 
some potent but as yet not understood influ- 
ence, which may in time prove to be beneficial 
in some cases, but necessitates cautious use in 
others. It is not safe to proceed upon the 
theory that ** if it does no good it can do no 

3. Its effect upon old men seems to be an 
augmentation of vigor and vitality, certainly 
continuing several days. Dr. Loomis has seen 
in its employment nothing in the slightest 
degree resembling the secondary depression, 
which generally follows the use of ordinary 

4. In cases of actual disease, it seems to pro- 

The Elixir of Life. 83 

duce no effect upon pathological conditions or 

5. It does produce "nutritive modification" 
in the tissues of elderly men, through the me- 
dium probably of stimulation of the nerve-cen- 
tres. That this modification, however, may occur 
to the extent of alterations in muscular struc- 
ture not essentially allied to old age disappearing, 
and tissues regaining their former power, as Dr. 
Brown-Sequard deems not impossible, there is 
as yet ground sufficient neither for affirming 
nor denying. 

6. The theory warrants further experimentaj 

Dr. Loomis's communication was the occa- 
sion in the Medical Record, of the same date, of 
an editorial emphatically adverse to Dr. Brown- 
Sequard's theory. 

From the Boston Medical a?id Surgical Jour- 
nal, July II, 1889 : 


*' Twenty years ago, at least, Dr. Brown- 
Sequard exhibited tendencies towards a belief 

84 The Elixir of Life. 

that the testicle might be of value for other 
purposes than the impregnation of the ovum, 
provided it was taken when young, — that it was 
competent, when its vital principles were pro- 
perly injected for the respective purposes, not 
only to call into existence the very young but 
to rejuvenate the aged. 

" It seems that the idea has continued to ger- 
minate in the brain of the learned, but eccen- 
tric, physiologist all these years. In 1875 he 
made experiments with grafts of testicular 
tissue upon dogs, and to his delight succeeded, 
as he thought, in renewing the youth of one 
wretched old cur. Since then he has continued 
these strange investigations at various times, 
and during the month of June this year made 
two separate communications to the Societe de 
Biologie of Paris upon the subject, describing 
the methods used and the supposed results. He, 
apparently, thinks he has discovered a sort of 
elixir vitCB, or fountain of perpetual youth, of 
simpler composition than those elixirs so sedu- 
lously compounded by the mediaeval philoso- 

The Elixir of Life. 85 

phers, and easier of access than the elusive foun- 
tain which enticed poor Ponce de Leon to his 
fond and fatal journey. 

" According to the reports of Brown-Se- 
quard's communications given by the French 
journals, he has been experimenting with a fluid 
obtained by crushing and washing the testicles 
of young animals, which was mixed with blood 
from the spermatic veins and water. This fluid 
he injected into his own subcutaneous cellular 
tissue almost every day for two weeks, with re- 
sults so gratifying that he hastened to commu- 
nicate them to his biological confreres. Not- 
withstanding his ripe age, between seventy and 
eighty years, he experienced a rejuvenescence 
of all his forces, physical and mental. The for- 
mer healthy and vigorous contractility of the 
intestines and bladder had returned, as also had 
his general muscular strength. Intellectual la- 
bor had again become easy to him. 

" Dr. Brown-Sequard did not succeed ap- 
parently in inoculating his hearers with his 
own enthusiasm for his procedure. Scepticism 

86 The Elixir of Life. 

and physiological objections found expression 
through MM. Dumont-Pallier and Fere. Nor 
did the society treat his results with sufficient 
seriousness to discuss the question as tp the 
value of the ovary for similar purposes, or as to 
the possible results of injecting subcutaneously 
an ovarian aqueous extract into the male and a 
testicular extract into the female." 

" The sooner the general public, and especi- 
ally septuagenarian readers of the latest sensa- 
tion, understand that for the physically used up 
and worn out there is no secret of rejuvenation, 
no elixir of youth, the better. There is no 
animal or vegetable product, from whatever 
animal or whatever gland, and however appro- 
priated by the senile organism (by ingestion 
or injection), that can put back the march of 
the fell destroyer by one day — except, indeed, 
so far as it acts as a vital stimulant or nutrient, 
and how can any stimulant or nutrient undo the 
effects of atheroma, fatty degeneration, senile 
atrophy!" — Ibid., Aug. 15, 1889. 

From the Times and Register, New York and 
Philadelphia, Aug. 17, 1889 : 

The Elixir of Life. 87 


''Dr. Ernest Laplace, who has been with 
Brown-Sequard within a not very remote period, 
strongly dissents with those who look upon the 
French physiologist as in his dotage, and affirns 
that he is still in the full possession of his ijien- 
tal faculties. His opinions are, therefore, to be 
received with the respect due to his great 
achievements, and his theory should have an 
impartial examination. We need not more than 
advert here to the improbability of any lasting 
effect being produced by these injections of 
testicular fluids. There is a disease which 
sweeps into the arms of death all who escape 
from other fatal ills, and that is old age. The 
periods of physiological activity and of subse- 
quent decay come with the same unerring cer- 
tainty as the succession of the seasons. Nu- 
merous experiments have been made, in fact, 
the world has been scoured, in the endeavor to 
find means of prolonging life, or, at least, the 
period of sexual activity. It cannot be said, 
however, that there has been any success in this 

88 The Elixir of Life, 

search. Stimulants to the sexual appetite exist, 
but they are not lasting in their effects, and 
serve simply to more quickly exhaust the little 
vitality remaining. Since Hufeland's day no 
one has thought it well to prepare a work upon 
the art of prolonging life; and we may doubt, 
with Erasmus Wilson, if the art has made much 
progress since Hufeland wrote his book, now a 
century old. While all works upon medicine 
may be said to treat of this art, yet none have 
treated the subject in the simplest and most 
direct form, apart from the treatment of disease. 
In these latter days, when the profession is so 
overcrowded, it is likely that honor and profit 
would result if one were to take up as a spe- 
cialty the art of prolonging the lives of aged 
persons and chronic incurables. But even if 
the effects reported by Brown-Sequard do not 
prove to be permanent, or really beneficial in 
the long run, it is probable that he has dis- 
covered a most valuable and powerful stimulant ; 
one which may prove useful in other than the 
affections for which he used it. In the low 

The Elixir of Life. 89 

stages of fevers, in anaemias, in many cases 
where a powerful stimulant to the exhausted 
vitality is needed, the testicular fluid may prove 
useful. There are such cases when alcohol does 
not answer ; where strychnine is powerless, 
phosphorus and nitro-glycerin too evanescent, 
and ordinary tonics fail completely. In these, 
and in true neurasthenia, as well as in phthisis, 
the new remedy may find a place ; provided the 
remarkable observations of Brown-Sequard are 
verified by other investigators. 

"Variot has endeavored to eliminate from 
the experiments with the testicular fluids the 
effects of imagination. He described in glow- 
ing terms the results of the new method, and 
then injected pure water instead, but the pa- 
tients found no relief. This is not satisfactory, 
however, as it is not always possible to carry 
conviction through simulated enthusiasm. Had 
he selected another physician, who believed in 
the method, and allowed him to address the 
patients, he himself believing that he was using 
the true fluid, the conditions of the experiment 

90 The Elixir of Life. 

would have accorded with those found in actual 

Again : 


" When Koch's discovery of the bacillus of 
tuberculosis was published, a thrill of elation 
went through the entire medical profession. A 
memorial stone was erected that marked the 
dawn of a more exact science as displayed in 
our knowledge of the diagnosis and treatment 
of a disease that continuously claims a greater 
number of victims than any other thc.t afflicts 
the human race. 

" The laity never realized that the sum of 
man's knowledge of himself had received a very 
valuable addition. 

** This discovery was quickly followed by 
others in the same domain, and to-day the germ 
theory of the cause of many diseases is almost 
universally accepted by educated physicians. 

" Suddenly, almost in the twinkling of an 
eye, the medical profession is called upon to 

The Elixir of Life. 91 

deal with the most striking phenomenon of the 
age, just offered to the world by the aged and 
renowned scientist, Professor Brown-Sequard, in 
what is popularly termed the use of the Elixir 
of Life, which consists of the testicles of in- 
ferior animals being removed, and immediately 
cut in small pieces, triturated or mashed so as 
to express and expel the living spermatozoa and 
juices of the gland, the straining of these juices, 
composed of serum and sperm, and immediate 
injection with a hypodermic syringe into the 
cellular tissues of old and physically broken- 
down men. 

** The process has been tried by a great num- 
ber of physicians, with the most diverse reports 
of the results. 

'* The secular press, day after day, teems with 
comments, interviews, and statements of the 
wondrous powers and efficacy of the promising 
treatment, and the prurient tastes of the people 
are pandered to ad nanseavt, until we are con- 
strained to ask. Why is this thus } Why thir. 
public discussion of a subject that is usually 

92 The Elixir of Life. 

tabooed in common conversation ? At first it 
was taken up by the papers very daintily, but it 
was enough to excite the Hvely imaginations of 
a host of readers, and these people wanted to 
know more about what they hoped was a potent 
aphrodisiac and actual live forever business. 

" Many at once thronged physicians' offices, 
and at every opportunity hailed their medical 
advisors to consult them in regard to the new 
fountain of life that has brought hope to their 
fainting hearts. 

" Never until now has the medical profession 
been made to reaHze that more than half of the 
men of the period believe their genital organs 
are very much below normal, and their owners 
are in a frame of mind that makes them willing 
to undergo a minor surgical operation and en- 
dure any probable amount of pain, for a very 
slight assurance that for them the generative 
standard could be raised to a degree that would 
be entirely satisfactory to themselves. 

" It is only a few years ago that the discovery 
was made that nearly all of women's ailments 

The Elixir of Life. 93 

were due to derangements of the uterus and its 
appendages. The medical profession was at 
once equal to the occasion and discovery, and 
there sprang into being the now potent gynecol- 
ogist. We will now usher to the front the man 
who will make a specialty of the treatment of 
the male genitalia. The transfusion of vital 
fluids from the inferior animals to man will be 
thoroughly investigated and its utility proven, 
or it will be relegated to the past as a visionary 


"The greatest good that will result from this 
New Elixir of Life will be the creation of a 
new body of specialists, whose time and talents 
will be devoted to affections of the male geni- 
talia." — Cincinnati Lancet-Clinic, Aug 17, 1889. 

Further : 


"St. Louis, August 16, 1889. 
"Editor Weekly Medical Review, — I 
scarcely know how to respond to your very kind 

94 The Elixir of Life. 

request to write up my experience with the so- 
called Brown-Sequard * elixir of life ' ; however 
the first thought to one examining the fluid 
with a microscope is much more likely to be 
that he is looking at a lively or live, than a life 
mixture. From the first, I have expressed my- 
self as having no confidence in the medicinal 
effects of this elixir other than what may follow 
a psychical impression. It might be harsh and 
unjust to style it the dotage dream of a prince 
in physiology, but milder language of similar 
import might convey an idea of the impression 
I have ab initio entertained. And what was 
then an impression, notwithstanding the start- 
ling reports of marvelous results, following the 
hypodermatic use of the mixture, which daily 
appear in our newspapers, ad nauseam, has 
after careful experimentation with, to be sure, 
but a limited, yet I think a sufficiently large, 
number of patients, when I take into consider- 
ation the time and labor wasted, become a con- 
viction ; and I am satisfied with the proofs of 
the faith that is within me regarding the so- 
called ' Brown-Sequard Elixir Vitae.' 

The Elixir of Life. 95 

" I have no faith in its re-vitaUzing influence, 
unless to inoculate one with micrococci, bacteria 
and bacilli — living organisms, but too fre- 
quently death-producers — is to re-vitalize. It 
is an old saying that * in death there is life,' but 
for some years we have been almost uncon- 
sciously formulating another sentence composed 
of exactly the same words, and equally true, 
but of just the opposite significance, i. e., in life 
there is death. The introduction of myriads of 
living organisms into bodies previously unoc- 
cupied by these death-dealing germs, has doubt- 
less been effected during the past two weeks to 
an alarming extent. For, it is but reasonable 
to suppose, that the haste to as quickly as possi- 
ble introduce the elixir before the dynamic (?) 
power resident in the living (?) molecules of 
matter, before the cells, not spermatic, had really 
become dead matter, has precluded the use of 
the microscope in 999 out of every 1000 in- 
stances in which it was used. 

'' One of the patients on whom I experi- 
mented three times, was unable to sleep half as 

96 The Elixir of Life. 

much as usual, and complained of unusual dry- 
ness of the mouth on the night following a one- 
drachm injection. Another one had a copious 
and foetid sweat the night following an injection 
of one drachm, made at 8:30 p.m., and would not 
allow a second use of the elixir(.?) Another, 
still, had an attack of vomiting and diarrhoea 
during the night following an injection about 5 
P.M., and did not present himself for a second 

" No other symptoms, either favorable or un- 
favorable, were observed. But four patients 
were experimented with. 

" On two occasions I discovered tubercle 
bacilli in the preparations made from material 
obtained from what appeared to be perfectly 
healthy sheep. It is needless to say that these 
mixtures were not used. 

" I invariably filtered the mixtures before 
using them ; this should have removed most, if 
not all, of the bacteria that might have been in 
the distilled water used, but in nearly every 
instance, in about an hour and a quarter after the 

The Elixir of Life. 97 

compound had been formed, would bacteria be 
seen ; and on several occasions, bacilli were 
present. The bacterium termo predominated. 
Next in frequency was what I took to be the 
vibrio ruguda. In one sample I found a number 
of vibrio serpens, three hours and fifteen min- 
utes after removal of the gland from the scro- 
tum. One specimen was literally crowded with 
vibriones rugudae and bacilli of tuberculosis. 
My friends, Dr. S. S. Porter and his son, of 2924 
Chestnut street, and I spent hours together over 
this sample. 

" On one occasion, thirty-five minutes after 
removal of a gland from the scrotum of an ani- 
mal that had been nearly killed, but not quite, 
an hour before examination of the elixir (.?) by 
Drs. Waldo Briggs and George C. McCosh and 
myself, we discovered a great many bacteria 
termo and bacilli ; the latter seemed to be the 
vibriones rugudoe. 

** While doing the microscopical work in con- 
nection with my experiments, I was astonished 
to note the frequency with which I observed 

98 The Elixir of Life. 

two, and sometimes three, spermatozoa with 
thin heads (or bodies) laid one almost exactly on 
top of the other (side to side), appearing like 
but a single spermatozoon with two or three 

"In one instance I could not find a single live 
spermatozoon twenty minutes after the death of 
the animal from which the parts were removed ; 
while in another instance, eighteen hours and 
thirty minutes after the death of the sheep, and 
eleven hours after the placing of the drop of 
elixir (?) under the cover of glass, I discovered 
living spermatozoa. 

" All of my material was taken from what was 
supposed to be healthy sheep, about eight or 
nine months old. And all implements and in- 
struments used were carefully sterilized before 
each time the mixture was made. Neither erup- 
tions, flushings, nor abscesses have followed 
any of the experiments. 

"Alexander B. Shaw, M.D." 

Weekly Medical Review, St. Louis, Aug. 17, 

The Mixir of Life. 99 

A communication from Indianapolis to the 
New York Sttn says : 

" Dr. Purman of this city has just made a 
practical demonstration of Brown-Sequard's life 
elixir theory. Dr. Purman easily procured the 
consent of Noah Clark, who is 50 years of age, 
generally debilitated, suffers from rheumatism 
and from disease contracted during the war, and 
is a very fit subject for the experiment tried up- 
on him this morning. 

"Dr. Purman drove out to the stockyards this 
morning, and selected the healthiest lamb ob- 
tainable. The lamb was killed and the neces- 
sary parts were brought to his office. The pre- 
paration was very simple. The parts were cut 
and pounded in a mortar, or thoroughly ' tritu- 
rated.' Two drachms of water was added and 
the preparation was carefully filtered. The re- 
sult was a reddish fluid — the elixir. One and 
a half drachms of this were injected into the 
emaciated arm of Clark a little below the 
shoulder with an ordinary hypodermic syringe. 
Granville Allen and Dr. Theodore Parker were 

100 The Elixir of Life. 

present during the operation, which took place 
within two hours after killing the lamb. 

** A few minutes after the operation, a re- 
porter called at the office and saw Mr. Clark. 
He was a limp picture of dejection, and seemed 
to have little vitality. 

" ' You know how you feel sometimes when 
you get up in the morning,' he said, 'you feel 
sleepy and lifeless, and unable to do anything. 
That's the way I have felt ever since the war.' 

" About four hours afterward Mr. Clark 
walked down town from Fort Wayne avenue, 
and climbed up two flights of stairs without 
stopping. ' I feel a decided difference,' he said 

" * It used to take me an hour to get down 
town, and this time I have walked it in twenty- 
five minutes. I have not felt this way for 
twenty-five years. I have new vitality. I do 
not drag, my feet along, and it is no trouble to 
hold my head up. I used to go along all bent 

•* Clark stood quite straight. ' The doctoi 

The Elixir of Life. 101 

noticed an improved look in my eyes, and more 
strength in my walk,' he added. * Before I 
could not read a newspaper without glasses, as I 
now can. The injection has certainly done me 
good. Whether this will last or not I don't 
know, but I hope it will.' 

"Clark to all appearances was certainly im- 
proved. His complexion and eyes clearly indi- 
cated an exhilarated state." 

A communication to the Boston Globe from 
Detroit says : 

" Dr. John W. Palmer, a prominent physician 
of Detroit, has been experimenting with the 
elixir of life, and with remarkable results. His 
patients are 60 and 70 years old respectively. 

"The elder man was decrepit and had been in 
failing health for years. The first injection 
seemed to put new life into him, and with the 
second administering the effect has been re- 
markable. He walks erect, has the appearance 
of long life ahead of him, and says he feels 
stronger than for years. 

"The younger man did not indicate such pro- 

102 The Elixir of Life. 

nounced results on the first trial, but with the 
second he showed the rejuvenating effects, and 
asserts his belief that the new remedy is a life 
preserver if not a cure-all. 

" Dr. Palmer says : ' I have just begun experi- 
menting. I do not know what the discovery 
may result in. This I do know, that an immedi- 
ate effect is to exhilarate and tone up. I be- 
lieve that in many cases it may save life in 
bridging over a crisis. The preparation is in no 
sense dangerous, for an antiseptic enters all its 
composition, and its base is from the healthiest 
of animals.' " 

Dr. Allen McLane Hamilton, of New York* 
declares : 

" The theory is opposed to all the laws of 
physiology and chemistry. Further than that, 
I believe it is a very dangerous proceeding, and 
that it is time for reputable physicians to ex- 
press their disapproval of the experiments. 
There is great danger of introducing a violent 
poison into the system. It is well known that 

The Elixir of Life. 103 

the putrefaction of albumen produces some of 
the most deadly poisons. It is quite possible 
that this substance injected into the veins 
should act there as the arrow poison does which 
is used by the South American Indians. When 
the elixir is sterilized by heat or the admixture 
of substances to prevent decay, it is quite cer- 
tain that it must be so changed as to lose any 
beneficial element it may have had when fresh. 
But I do not believe it has any benefieial ele- 
ment when fresh. When skillfully prepared and 
injected before decay sets in, it would have no 
more effect than water would. But there is 
always danger. It is hard to tell when the mo- 
ment is passed at which the harmless substance 
becomes dangerous. The juices of a newly 
dead body, as undertakers and medical students 
know, are much more dangerous when absorbed 
through a wound than those of a body that has 
been preserved some time. Dr. Brown-Se- 
quard's injections were all very painful. I be- 
lieve that many cases of erysipelas have followed 
these injections." 

104 The Elixir of Life, 

" On the theory that it might have the effect 
claimed for it, how could the substance act on 
the system ? " 

" It couldn't act. Those who have tried it 
offer no explanation of the result obtained. 
They say practically that a 'vital fluid' has been 
given the patient. It is a return to the medical 
systems of the middle ages. It affects some 
through mental exhilaration. Its hold on the 
public is due to a love of the mysterious. It 
is not a new idea. Mention of its use was made 
three centuries ago. Although Dr. Brown-Se- 
quard is well advanced in years, I believe that 
antedates his time." 

" Have you been requested to prepare the 
fluid for any of your patients } " 

" A gentleman came to me with such a re- 
quest the other day. I refused his request ; but 
if, under any extraordinary condition of affairs, 
I should be persuaded by a patient to try it, I 
should inject the fluid with the same confidence 
that I should inject water. People do live 
longer now than they did formerly, but length- 

The Elixir of Life. 105 

ened life is due solely to the advance of sanitary- 
science and to the care which people take of 

From the correspondence of the Journal of 
the American Medical Association, Chicago, 
Aug. 24, 1889: 

" Dr. Wm. A. Hammond, who like most 
others was at first disposed to pooh-pooh Brown- 
Sequard's alleged discovery of the rejuvenating 
power of the testicle, now announces that the 
results of a number of experiments which he 
has himself made are such as apparently to con- 
firm the correctness of Brown-Sequard's asser- 
tions. In the experiments he used the testes of 
freshly killed lambs, in preference to the rabbit 
or guinea pig, employed in France ; great care 
being taken to thoroughly filter the solution em 
ployed in the injections. He began his experi- 
ments first on himself, to make sure that the 
method was not dangerous to the patient. 
Since then he has experimented on several old 
men without their being aware of what was 
being done to them, and in the case of one 

106 The Elixir of Life. 

of them, he states that the result was quite 
remarkable. He was about sixty years of age 
and had his arm so nearly paralyzed with rheu- 
matism that for nearly a year he had not been 
able to raise his hand to his head ; while soon 
after one injection he could move it in any di- 
rection and almost as vigorously as he had ever 
done. Of course, Dr. Hammond does not claim 
any conclusive results with the limited number 
of experiments thus far made, but he says he 
feels justified in proceeding further with the in- 

Again : 

"The Alchemist's Dream. — The discovery 
of an elixir vitcB by Dr. Brown-Sequard, of 
Paris, when first announced, caused a smile of 
derision to spread over the faces of a majority 
of the medical scientists. Among the first to 
call names was Dr. Wm. A. Hammond, ex-sur- 
geon-general of the United States. This was 
not strange, because Dr. Hammond has hereto- 
fore advanced a theory of his own concerning 
the prolongation of life, based on entirely dif- 

The Elixir of Life. 107 

ferent grounds. He has held that, with proper 
attention to physical and mental needs, there 
was no physiological reason why man should 
die. But after experimenting on the lines given 
by the eminent French doctor, he takes back all 
his previous harsh words and agrees with him, 
heart and soul. In his experiments, Dr. Brown- 
Sequard used the organs of a guinea pig, from 
which, after pounding in distilled water, he fil- 
tered his elixir of life. Dr. Hammond used 
those of a lamb. The result in both cases was 
the same. Decrepid persons were revivified. 
A rheumatic recovered the use of a nerveless 
limb. Experiments with this Frenchman's dis- 
covery are being made right and left, and in 
every case with apparent success. The liquid 
has been injected into the subjects without their 
knowledge as to what it was, so imagination 
does not enter into the result. Whether the 
benefit derived from these injections with this 
wonderful, though simple fluid, will be lasting 
or not, will only be gathered as time goes by."^ 

Boston Transcript. 

'See " The Elixir of Life," by W. A. Hammond, in N. Am. Review* 
Sept.. 18S9. 

108 The Elixir of Life. 

From the Western Medical Reporter, Chicago, 
Aug., 1889: 


''And now we are asked to beUeve that the 
venerable Brown-Sequard has discovered the 
secret of Ufe — the perennial fountain — the 
waters of which once quaffed, metamorphose 
the trembling and impotent old man into a 
strong and virile youth. The wondrous brew 
which is to defy Old Time is the juice of the 
testes of animals ; the method of administra- 
tion is by hypodermic injection. M. Variot 
follows the * bell-wether ' over the fence and 
confirms Brown-Sequard's experiments by a 
series of cases. These cases were old men of 
54, 56 and 6S years respectively. The injec- 
tions were followed by * general exaltation of 
nervous sensibility, stimulation and regulation 
of digestion, and an increase of muscular vigor.' 

" It is fortunate for our eminent brother that 
the world is too enlightened to believe in sor- 
cery and witchcraft, otherwise we would tremble 
for his safety. We regret that the preparation 

The Elixir of Life. 109 

of the magic draught has not been more 
thoroughly outlined. If we are not mistaken, 
the distinguished and learned compounder for- 
got to mention whether the decoction should be 
brewed at the full or dark of the moon. 

" It is a lamentable and indubitable fact that 
some men outlive their usefulness. Why is it 
that men who have achieved renown in science, 
letters and politics, live long enough to ruin the 
good work of the vigorous early and middle 
periods of life } Had John Bright died a few 
years earlier, there would never have been a 
single criticism of his life and works. The 
stand which he took regarding the momentous 
questions involved in our own civil war, was 
enough to enshrine him in the memories of 
patriotic Americans at least, for all time. His 
attitude in the Irish question more than neutral- 
ized his previous commendable actions. That 
Bright, the great and liberal commoner, should 
tacitly ally himself with the aristocracy in the 
oppression of the Irish, can only be explained 
by the inconsistency which is but natural to the 
man in his dotage. 

110 The Elixir of Life. 

" Tennyson, who has done work which will 
justly immortalize him, has nevertheless lived 
long enough to produce material — poetry by 
courtesy — which is but the driveling of se- 
nility, if indeed it is no worse. Many years 
ago Brown-Sequard, by his researches in neuro- 
physiology and pathology, took his place among 
the foremost medical philosophers of the age. 
If some good genius had impelled him to cease 
philosophizing and experimenting at ' the zenith 
of his fame,' nothing could have dimmed the 
lustre of his contributions to science. His 
unlucky star certainly must have been in the 
ascendant, for some years. later we find the poor 
old man going from place to place and trying to 
convince the profession that the theory which 
had made him famous, was wrong. The ancient 
story of the cow that gave the good pail of milk 
and then kicked it over, seems very appropriate 
in this connection. 

"What is most peculiar about the latest 
freak of our eminent scientist, is his verification 
of a time-honored and fallacious notion of the 

The Elixir of Life. Ill 

laity as to the potency of 'fries ' — a notion the 
practicability of which might be testified to by 
full many a sorrowing capon. The ancients 
had great faith in the magic of Sequard's brew. 
Horace is quoted as imploring a famous and 
powerful witch to impart to him the secret pro- 
cess by which a certain rejuvenating draught 
was made. This was manufactured at night with 
great mystery by grinding up flesh torn from 
fiery Roman stallions. The Medical Record 
suggests that the brew of Brown-Sequard con- 
tains a stimulating leucomaine, to which its 
effects may be attributed. Had the * discovery ' 
originated in the mind of a lesser light in medi- 
cine, the Record — which is nothing if not 
candid — might have suggested the possibility 
of the claims of Brown-Sequard being unmiti- 
gated bosh. We are thankful for the sugges- 
tion as to leucomaines, however; our ideas of 
the potency of a certain food preparation are 
now more lucid. Science makes clear and 
technical what the olfactories of our patients 
have already discovered. 

112 The Elixir of Life. 

"If the ' rejuvenator' prove to be as potent 
as is claimed by its originator, it might be well 
for us to give Chinese therapeutics more atten- 
tion. There may be more in the nostrums of 
the almond-eyed heathen than our more enlight- 
ened medical philosophy has yet dreamed of. 

"Apropos of Brown-Sequard's pharmacolog- 
ical and therapeutical discovery, it might be 
well to inquire whether the distinguished inves- 
tigator has not stolen some of Shakspeare's 

' Round about the caldron go, 
In the poisoned entrails throw. 
Toad, that under coldest stone, 
Days and nights has thirty-one. 
Sweltered venom, sleeping got. 
Boil thou first i' the charmed pot ! 

' Fillet of a fenny snake, 
In the caldron boil and bake 
Eye of newt, and toe of frog. 
Wool of bat, and tongue of dog, 
Adder's fork, and blind worm's sting. 
Lizard's leg and owlet's wing, 
For a charm of powerful trouble, 
Like a hell broth boil and bubble. 

TJie Elixir of Life, 113 

' Scale of dragon, tooth of wolf; 
Witch's mummy, maw and gulf 
Of the ravined salt sea shark; 
Root of hemlock, digged i' the dark; 
Liver of blaspheming Jew, 
Gall of goat, and slips of yew, 
Silvered in the moon's eclipse; 
Nose of Turk, and Tartar's lips ; 
Finger of birth-strangled babe, 
Ditch delivered by a drab — 
Make the gruel thick and slab : 
Add thereto a tiger's chawdron. 
For the ingredients of our caldron. 

' Cool it with a baboon's blood. 
Then the charm is firm and good.' — 

Macbeth, Act 4." 

The Independent, Aug. 15, 1889, views the 
^.matter thus : 


" While Dr. Brown-Sequard has not called his 
new injected fluid an elixir of life, it is clear 
that he is not sure but it almost deserves the 
name. He recognizes it as probably the fact 
that certain processes and changes in the human 

114 The Elixir of Life. 

body are irresistible and finally fatal. In infancy 
the bones are gelatinous and flexible ; but grad- 
ually the proportion of lime-salts increases and 
the amount of cartilage decreases, until, in old 
age, the bones are brittle and perishable. This 
change goes on steadily, before and after puberty. 
So there is a gradual change in the structure of 
brain and nerve tissue and of muscles, until they 
cease to perform their functions and a person 
dies of old age. As one passes from childhood 
to maturity certain mental or physical powers 
are developed, and then decay or are entirely lost. 
There is the regular and apparently irresistible 
course of things by which a period of protected 
weakness is followed by a period of parentage 
and strength, and this again by impotency, phys- 
ical and mental degeneracy, and death. Dr. 
Brown-Sequard does not assert that this process 
can be permanently arrested by any new-discov- 
ered elixir of life ; but he does suggest and 
believe that as the strength and active vigor of 
the years of a man's freshest youth come from 
the absorption into the blood of fluids then pro- 

The Elixir of Life. 115 

duced, which have a special stimulative power 
upon all parts of the body, so by the introduc- 
tion, subcutaneously, into the system of old men 
of a solution of fluids taken from young and vig- 
orous animals, this lost force can be restored to 
the circulation, and the old vigor very much 
recovered. It is as if fresh yeast were put into 
dough, fresh malt into the stale product of the 
brewery. He believes that substances which 
once came naturally into the blood, and thus 
stimulated the vigorous action of the whole sys- 
tem, can be artificially restored to the circula- 
tion, and will then in a measure invigorate the 

action of muscles and brain 

** Whether the effect [produced by his experi- 
ments] came from any specific property in the 
fluids injected into the circulation, or was purely 
the result of what is called auto-suo:£:estion or 
imagination, and yet without hypnotism, is the 
question to be decided. Dr. Brown-Sequard 
speaks with some reserve, but evidently believes 
that there is a real specific power in the fluid 
taken from the active glands of the young ani- 

116 The Elixir of Life. 

mals employed in these experiments. He quotes 
the results of experiments made upon three old 
men by Dr. Variot, who has used the fluid with 
success on several old men, but failed when» 
with similar words of encouragement, he has 
used only pure water. The experiments have, 
during the past week or two, been repeated in 
a number of cases in this country, and with 
varying success, some operators declaring that 
the results have been all that Dr. Brown-Sequard 
describes, and others that no appreciable effects 
have followed. The latter conclusion seems 
probable, and it is yet far from certain whether 
anything more than imagination must be accred- 
ited with the good results recorded. 

*' But this may be regarded as probable, that 
nothing more than a mere stimulus can be 
expected of any such injected fluid. We remem- 
ber when injections of blood were first suggested 
and tried what wonderful results were expected ; 
but they have not followed. The transfusion of 
blood is rarely tried with any good results. It 
is ridiculous to speak of this as an ' elixir of 

The Elixir of Life. 117 

life.' There is no elixir of life, and Dr. Brovvn- 
Sequard would never pretend to have found one. 
All he would say is that he has found something 
which stimulates the nerve centers and empow- 
ers them to do a certain amount of work. No 
medicine will reverse the course of nature. It 
will not replace the superfluous phosphates of 
the bones with cartilage. It will not restore the 
lost power and function of bodily organs. It 
can only for a time stimulate to activity, a stim- 
ulation which is as likely to shorten as it is to 
prolong life. There has been so much that is 
unscientific and foolish written on the subject 
during the past few days, so much that might 
give wild hopes to people whose powers are 
enfeebled, that we have thought it well to give 
the facts on their best side, so that all that is 
claimed can be clearly known, and to indicate 
what we see needs to be again and again 
repeated, that 

' Neither god of love nor god of skje 
Can doe, said she, that which cannot be donne. 

118 The Elixir of Life. 

Hon. Charles Levi Woodbury writes : 
'' It depends on which part of the Hfe you 
lengthen. It would be a great worry to parents to 
lengthen childhood thirty or forty years. It would 
be a sore deprivation to one's heirs to prolong 
old age unnecessarily for such a period. It would 
be a great discouragement to young women mar- 
rying wealthy middle-aged men, and generally 
would make life sentences for matrimony or the 
penitentiary unendurable. The tendency of the 
chano:e would seem to lead to an increase of 
suicide and divorce, and its effect on life tenures 
under the civil service reform would be disheart- 
ening to the average voter. The ancients said 
' whom the gods love die young,' and although 
Methuselah set an early example of long life, it 
has not been vigorously pursued by succeeding 

" Could Dr. Brown-Sequard apply his secret 
to lengthening the youth and beauty of woman 
and manhood, it would be more popular than an 
application to the preceding or succeeding stages 
of existence. But, as every believer in a future 

The Elixir of Life. 119 

state thinks we are to live forever, it makes but 
little difference in the long run, how much of 
it we spend in the present form of life. 

" Another view is that, as bores are numerous, 
the prolongation of their lives would be a nui- 
sance, the thing should be regulated by ballot, and 
none permitted to take the elixir except those 
who could command a large majority of relatives 
and neighbors to that end, as Balder did in the 
Scandinavian mythology." 

And so stands Dr. Brown-Sequard's '' Elixir 
of Life " at present. 


Important New Boohs. 

Works by the late Dr. James R- Nichols. 
With portrait of the author. i2mo. Cloth, gilt top. $1.25. Eleventh 
edition, revised. 

'* / consider the late Javtes R. Nichols, the well-known chemist, one of tJie 
coolest and most scientific imtestigators in the field of psychical phettoviena, 
atid, at Hie same time, ofte of the most honest. If tlie world had more earnest 
thinkers of the same kind to co-operate with him, the world would find out 
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*' No one can take up the book without feeling- tJie incli7iation to read further, 
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A breezy book about Norway, its people and its places, its fjords and fjelds. 
A critical notice says : — "The book is not pretentious. Miss Hervey has 
sought to tell in a direct, simple way the stor>' of her wanderings in Norway, 
and to describe some of the strange sights of that romantic land. But she has 
avoided dulness, the bane of thousands of books of travel, while many of the 
passages are strikingly well done." — Again, "She has recorded her experi- 
ences in exactly the manner which makes her book pleasurable and fascioating 

y. G. Cupples Co. ''"'f:Siiers, BOSTON. 


Important New 'Books, 

PHIED PROSTATE. By Francis Sedgwick Watson, M. D. 
I vol. Superbly illustrated with 34 phototype plates and with numerous 
engravings. 4to. Cloth. $3.50. 

A most valuable addition to the literature of surgery, treating of a patholog- 
ical condition most widely diffused, and yet but little touched upon by cur- 
rent writers. 

"the elixir of life.'' Dr. Brown-Sequard's own account of his 

famous alleged remedy for debility and old age, Dr. Variot's experiments, 

and contemporaneous comments of the profession and the press, with 

sketch of Dr Brown-Sequard's life, and portrait. Edited by Newell 

Dunbar, i vol. Square i6mo. Cloth. 50 cents. 

At a time when all reading classes are interested, eh'her through the medical 

or secular press, in the above subject, it is remarkable to notice the amount of 

ignorance and misapprehension that exists regarding what this remedy really is, 

its method of application, and the results which have been attained. While 

some would claim for it all the virtue suggested by the name by which it is 

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credence to the evidence of experiments; this little book has, therefore, 

been compiled to give the gist of the opinions of all classes, placing within 

reach of all, in a handy and condensed form, all facts of interest connected 

with the subject. 


Stark. Assisted by Dr. Samuel A. Green, Ex-Mayor of Boston, Libra- 
rian of the Massachusetts Historical Society ; John Ward Dean, Libra- 
rian of the New England Historic Genealogical Society ; and Judge Mel- 
len Chamberlain, of the Public Library. An extensive and exhaustive 
work injyS pag^es. Large quarto. Illustrated with nearly 200 full size 
reproductions of all kno^Mnrare maps, old prints, etc. i vol. 4to. Cloth. 

BERMUDA GUIDE. A description of everything on or about the Bermuda 
Islands, concerning which the visitor or resident may desire information, 
including its history, inhabitants, climate, agriculture, geology, govern- 
ment, military and naval establishments. By James H. Stark. With 
Maps, Engravings and 16 photo-prints, i vol.' i2mo, cloth, 157 pp. 

J. G. Cuppies Co. '''''%'o7:;iiers, "BOSTON. 


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TEN DAYS IN THE JUNGLE. A journey in the far East by an 
American lady. By J. E. L. With vignette, i vol. i6mo. Cloth. 

An interesting and entertaining description of travel through the Straits of 
Malacca, with pictures of life and scenery in the adjacent British Colonies of 
Singapore and Pulo-Penang. 

ECHOES FROM CAPE ANN ; a book of Poems and Memorial Tokens, 
by Maria J. Dodge, i vol. i2mo. Handsomely bound in cloth, bevel- 
led boards, gilt edges. $1.50. 

Charming verses : narrative, descriptive, and devotional, touched here and 
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acquainted with the home of Elizabeth Stuart Phelps and Lucy Earcom. 

ORGANIZATIONS OF BOSTON, ETC. Prepared for the Asso- 
ciated Charities. I vol., 196 pp. i6mo. Cloth. $1.00. 


The publishers have much pleasure in announcing for immediate publication 
one of the most remarkable books of the day, pointing to a high ideal of truth- 
and purity, its teachings being clothed in the garb of fiction. 


I vol. With illustrations. Large square i2mo., unique cloth binding, 

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The writer, evidently an earnest believer in the immortality of the spiritual 
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Many subjects of much interest to many thinkers now, are introduced as an in- 
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truth which this book endeavors to express. It is a book to be ranked in the 
same class with ' Consuelo."' 

J. G. Cupples Co. '''''To'ksJiiers, BOSTON, 


Uoiversity of Toronto 








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